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Dr. Xinlian Liu

When I applied for the SRP workshop in 2016, I had no idea what to expect. I accidentally read
about the SRP workshop in an email list from the Shodor Institute, and thankfully, met Dr. Leung
and Dr. Crivelli.
Thanks to Dr. Crivelli’s close guidance and two exceedingly talented students, Tom Corcoran
and Rafael Zamora-Rezendiz, our first project, constructing a deep learning model in protein
structural classification of cancer oncogenes, in the summer of 2017 produced excellent results.
The Million Veteran Program (MVP), a cross-agency collaboration between the Department of
Veteran Affairs and the Department of Energy, is a rare opportunity to apply the deep learning
methods on a real-world data set. What makes it stand out from most other computational
research projects is that we have a strong sense of mission. Every minute in our work, we are
saving the lives of veterans who have sacrificed the most for the U.S. while many of them are
the most vulnerable ones in our society. In addition to a drive to explore scientific unknowns, we
are emotionally committed to the job. Dr. Crivelli recently shared with us the incredible news that
VA would start to adopt our methods into their suicide prevention operations. We can’t be
prouder.
I truly appreciate the experience of working with Dr. Silvia Crivelli at LBL. As an experienced
researcher and faculty mentor, Dr. Crivelli made me aware of things that were often overlooked
after spending a decade and a half exclusively in the classroom. The LBL experience
fundamentally changed my teaching capacity at my home institution Hood College. I launched
new courses in Data Science and Deep Learning with a focus on health informatics. I started
collaborations with our local hospital. I mentored honor papers in the electronic health record
studies. I joined the task force on graduate students’ mental health and formed connections
with local mental health support groups. With a Fulbright award in 2019, I extended
collaborations to the other side of the Atlantic and had a proposal selected for funding by the
Portugal-UT Austin Project. All these fit perfectly to our College’s emphasis on involving our
students in high-impact experiential learning.
While the instructor acquires new skills, students are the ones who benefit the most. Students
get to take courses and conduct research in one of the most exciting fields. They also get to go
to Berkeley Lab for the internship experience. Some of them get to continue their work at LBL
after they graduate.
Working in the setting of a National Lab is an eye-opening experience for my students and
myself. Besides enjoying our ocean-view office space and accessing to a supercomputer, we
quickly adapted to the way to connect, collaborate, and self-organize with other researchers to
create ideas and make contributions. With involvement in high-impact projects such as the
MVP, students are also awed by what difference their work can make to a meaningful cause.

Dr. Crivelli guided me on applying for grants and conducting research. However, her passion for
student success is the most contagious of all. Encouraged by Dr. Crivelli, I started mentoring
students outside my own program, department, and school. Many of them developed a love in
research computing and some of them became stars in this field. We have a great team under
Dr. Crivelli. I got to meet and know many inspiring faculty and students who also work with Dr.
Crivelli. Our students quickly mature professionally and are very successful in their research
computing careers.