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Michelle Borkin, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Computer Science Department, Univ. of British Columbia
& Associate in Computer Science
School of Engineering & Applied Sciences,
Harvard University

michelle_borkin @ harvard.edu
Maxwell-Dworkin, Room 142

Current Work

I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow working with Prof. Tamara Munzner and her InfoVis Group at the University of British Columbia, and am also a researcher at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

I conducted my dissertation research with Prof. Hanspeter Pfister and his Visual Computing Group on data visualization, and Prof. Alyssa Goodman on interdisciplinary 3D visualization techniques as part of the Astronomical Medicine Project including the Glue linked-data visualization toolkit. I also closely collaborate with Prof. Krzysztof Gajos and the Intelligent Interactive Systems (IIS) Group at Harvard, as well as Dr. Aude Oliva and the Computational Perception & Cognition Group at MIT. I was awarded in 2010 a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. I was also chosen by TED as a TEDGlobal 2009 Fellow.

My research interests include data visualization, human-computer interaction (HCI), cognition and perception, medical imaging and radiology, and astrophysics.

For more information about my research, download my CV and check-out my TED talk.


Michelle Borkin works on creating new approaches to interdisciplinary scientific visualization and data exploration. She co-founded the "Astronomical Medicine" project at Harvard which brings together astronomers, doctors, and computer scientists to collaborate on new analysis and visualization techniques, and cross-fertilize techniques across scientific disciplines. In her visualization research, Michelle also investigates the perceptual and cognitive properties of visualizations and works to apply these principles to improve visualizations in a variety of domains. Michelle received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in 2014 as well as a MS in Applied Physics in 2011. She graduated from Harvard College with a BA in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics in 2006. She was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellow, and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow.

More Info...

As a researcher at, and former graduate student of, Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), I work on developing visualization techniques and tools for multiple scientific and engineering domains as well as investigating fundamental principles of perception and cognition as it relates to data visualization. My main visualization research interests include information and scientific visualization, hierarchical and multidimensional data representations, big data visualization, network and provenance data visualization, perception, cognition, user interface design, human computer interaction (HCI), and evaluation methodologies.

I am also passionate about interdisciplinary research and am co-founder of the Astronomical Medicine Project in which I am cross-fertilizing and co-developing visualization and analysis techniques for both astronomy and medicine. A current project for the visualization and analysis of large linked data sets is targeted to be the standard visualization tool for NASA's next generation space telescope. My other scientific interests include star formation, computational physics, and fluid dynamics.

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