- Assistant Professor, Chaminade University of Honolulu
Dr. Tipton is an assistant professor of data science at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Her research focuses on interactions, usually microbe-microbe interactions within a microbiome, but she dabbles in human-computer interactions and human-human interactions through digital humanities. She teaches courses in AI/machine learning, modeling, and digital humanities. This is her second year as a professor and being involved with Women in Data Science. Laura can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in science and math but will never forget falling in love with statistics in high school. It felt like math that had to make sense in the real world! She has applied that love of statistics and making numbers make sense to everything she’s done since. After high school, Laura majored in biostatistics as an undergraduate at University of Virginia, and went to work at George Washington University Biostatistics Center as a research assistant analyzing data from clinical trials. While there she earned a master’s in statistics and was introduced to microbiomes, the collection of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes and their abiotic factors that make up a community. Deciding this is what she wanted to research, she moved to Pittsburgh to pursue a PhD in the joint Carnegie Mellon University – University of Pittsburgh Computational Biology program. Her dissertation focused on quantitatively analyzing the human lung microbiome. Realizing how little was known about the fungi present, and fungi in general, she sought out a fungal research group in which to do a post-doc, which landed her in Hawaii at UH Manoa where she researched the fungi in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa Observatory. Having fallen in love with Hawaii, Laura is now at Chaminade University of Honolulu and sharing her love of analysis by teaching data science.