Undergraduate at Center Awarded Trip to International Poster Competition in Saudi Arabia

Achievement date: 

Kyle Altman, an undergraduate researcher at the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), was selected to attend and present at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) in Saudi Arabia, January 9-22, 2016.


Altman’s proposal was one of 40 that KAUST selected from 700 submitted by university students around the world. KAUST awarded him an all-expenses-paid week of lab visits, meetings with faculty members, seminars, entrepreneurial events, field trips, cultural, and recreational trips. The trip bolsters Altman’s plans to apply to medical school.


Altman is an undergraduate researcher working with two LESA faculty members, John Wen and Agung Julius at RPI. His research poster entitled, “Estimation of Circadian Rhythm Based on Adaptive Notch Filter and Its Application to Locomotor Activity," describes their work developing a circadian rhythm estimator that accurately and continuously estimates circadian phase while successfully extracting phase from noise-corrupted data. The estimator is a modified Adaptive Notch Filter (ANF), which is commonly used in signal processing, and the data was collected using Drosophila melanogaster, the model organism.

The WEP gave Altman a chance to hear presentations about a very diverse set of research topics including physics, organic chemistry, sustainability, and biology, and to meet and network with the presenters.

He also heard from keynote speakers such as Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist known for his research on gravitational waves and LIGO, black holes, wormholes, and time travel, and James Watson, the famous biologist, geneticist, zoologist, and co-discoverer of the double helix molecular structure of DNA and its nucleic acid components.