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Annie Didier

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While completing her undergraduate degree in mathematics at Whitworth University in Washington, Annie conducted research in mathematical biology, utilizing mathematical modeling and programming to gain insights into the effects of caffeine on circadian rhythm. This experience inspired her to further develop her research and mathematics skills through graduate studies.

Annie entered the Applied Mathematics PhD program at Arizona State University in 2013, where she joined the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems. Collaborating with neuroscientists and other mathematicians, her graduate research focused on using dynamical systems modeling, numerical solution methods, and MATLAB programming to gain insights into the intrinsic properties of motor neurons following spinal cord injury. In addition to her research, Annie taught classes, contributed to research in the Mathematics Education department, and led a team of undergraduate students in modeling neuron firing rate and EMG response. As the project lead, Annie was responsible for managing task assignment, managing implementation, and inspecting deliverables to ensure functionality and mathematical rigor. Throughout her research she honed her technical writing skills through grant proposals and research reports. These experiences have equipped Annie with an understanding of how to develop mathematical models and algorithms, and also how to communicate esoteric results to a general audience.

Annie’s experience working in mathematical neuroscience ultimately led her to the field of analytics. While conducting her research, Annie found that the question of how to extract and use data from the overwhelmingly large libraries of scientific literature was just as compelling as the problem she wanted to solve with the data. Furthermore, her research and classes in neuromuscular control systems gave her exposure to neural systems and predictive learning/control algorithms like the Kalman Filter. These experiences inspired her to learn more about text analytics, artificial neural networks, and machine learning.

Realizing that her program at ASU was focused on producing academians, Annie searched for an industry focused program after receiving her Master’s in Applied Mathematics. Now at Northwestern, she is eager to expand her technical repertoire and apply her neuroscience background to machine learning and neural networks.