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Girgis selected as Fulbright U.S. Scholar for Poland

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Dr. Hani Girgis

KINGSVILLE (April 1, 2024) — Texas A&M University-Kingsville Associate Professor of Computer Science Dr. Hani Girgis has been selected as a 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Scholar for Poland, where he will have the opportunity to teach and conduct research on Artificial Intelligence in bioinformatics.   

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious fellowships that provide recipients with unique opportunities to teach and conduct research abroad while playing a vital role in U.S. public diplomacy in an effort to establish and further long-term relationships between nations and their people. 

“Many Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners received this award,” he added. “The alumni of this program has so many great minds, so it’s such an honor to be connected to these people.” 

Girgis, who has studied and conducted research in bioinformatics and A.I., will be hosted by the Computational Biology Department of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan for 10 months starting this August. 

There, he will collaborate with Dr. Wojciech M. Karłowski on applying machine learning to develop sequence-similarity assessment tools that will be used to aid scientists in making discoveries related to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and decoding and understanding genome biology. 

The research area is a vast one which falls under the umbrella of biology, medicine and computer science and applies A.I. to help scientist understand functions of human DNA. 

“This will have a lot of implications for areas such as medicine, pharmacology and agriculture,” Girgis said. “It has great, great potential for many discoveries. What we have in ourselves is a complete code. It is a complete program starting from when we are conceived, to how we develop and how we behave. This environment has many factors, but there is a lot of code inside us. If you think about it, it is a big book with 3 billion nucleotides and an alphabet of 3 billion. You need to understand what is in it and we write code using A.I. and programing languages to understand God’s Code. 

“In order for us to do this, we need to understand what DNA is doing and to do that we need basic tools, fundamental tools,” he added. “We are applying A.I. to build these tools. We are part of the decoding process; we are not going to solve the puzzle ourselves. We will provide the tools which scientists will make biological, medical and agricultural discoveries with.” 

Adam Mickiewicz University will also incorporate Girgis’ classes on bioinformatics and machine learning applications in bioinformatics into an expert-lecture series as a part of their bachelor and master’s studies in bioinformatics. 

The courses focus on artificial intelligence, which Girgis believes will contribute to not only the university but to the relationship between both countries. 

“The United States is at the front in terms of A.I. research,” he said. “I believe when I go there and share my experiences and teach other Polish students about advances in A.I., I believe that will be a great gift from the U.S. to the Polish people. That is also another aspect to being a Fulbright Scholar is diplomacy through people. We want to continue and enhance friendships between the American people and the Polish people.” 

“It’s not just a one-person effort,” Girgis said. “There are many people and many circumstances involved. I want to thank (Dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering) Dr. Heidi Taboada and the Office of Research and Innovation and Dr. Jose Espiritu (Vice President for Research and Innovation). I also want to thank Diana Polendo Luna (Department of Research and Innovation Director), who forwarded the first email informing me of this Fulbright Award.” 


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