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By Nikki Cabus

Industry leaders and researchers brought together for the FAU Data Science Conference

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Back in person for the first time since the pandemic, the Florida Atlantic University Data-Driven Science & AI Conference brought together industry leaders, students, and researchers from multiple industries. This is the fourth conference for the Schmidt College of Science and the first year the conference attracted support from the National Science Foundation!

“The conference was reshaped this year to meet the growth of the Schmidt College of Science as well as the dynamic tech, data and AI community we work with in South Florida,” said William Kalies, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Conference Chair. “The funding provided by the NSF enabled us to conduct this conference again and provide opportunities for our local industry to interact with our researchers and students to spark future collaborations, internship and career opportunities.”

Throughout the day-long event, participants had the opportunity to attend two panel discussions, six themed minisymposium sessions, ranging from the use of AI in chemistry and molecular medicine to the urban applications of data science, enjoy a student research poster competition, learn about opportunities in the community through Tech Hub South Florida, and had multiple opportunities for learning and networking.

Twenty-six students from FAU High School and FAU’s undergraduate and graduate programs exhibited their research at the conference. Three students, Kayla Ahlness, Dawn Raja Somu, and Deepika Regmi, earned recognition for their studies from faculty judges.

The conference included two sponsored panel sessions by South Florida Tech Hub, including the Health Tech panel that discussed, “Digital Transformation and Data-Driven Insight in Healthcare” with leaders in healthcare technology. This panel had a packed room of students, researchers and faculty interested in hearing about “Where We Are and Where We’re Going” in healthtech.

Meggie Soliman, Director of Strategic Innovations at DSS, Inc. opened up the conversation with a presentation and followed by moderating the discussion with panelists, Pete Martinez, CEO of Sivotech Bioinformatics and former IBM executive, Yenvy Truong, Founder of LSM Group, and  Christopher Kunney, Chief of Strategy & Business Development at DSS, Inc.

The Tech Career & Internship Experiences panel discussion paired recent FAU alumni with their mentors to discuss how they secured an internship and their current full-time industry positions. They also answered students’ questions and shared advice.

Panelists included Rich Viens, Chief Financial Officer at PeakActivity and former intern Valeria Tineo, now the Incoming Account Executive of Organizational Business Development at Cleveland Cavaliers, and Lakshamana Sankarakuttalam, Senior Manager IT, Enterprise Intelligence at Office Depot alongside recent FAU Alum and current Master’s student,  Jose Delgado, Software Developer at Office Depot.

The conference featured mini sessions highlighting everything from “The Impact of AI in Financial Market Investment Strategies” to “Topological Data Analysis Algorithms in Robot Motion Planning.” The final keynote talk of the day was Daniel Uribe, MBA, Co-Founder & CEO,, and active Tech Hub member. His talk was titled “BioNFTs: Enabling Decentralized Consented Genomics in the Metaverse” discussing the biodata provenance journey with an ethical risk analysis of who benefits, who is at risk, and who decides on the biological assets (biosamples + biodata) and the introduction of Biological Non-Fungible Tokens or BioNFTs that resolve in a public blockchain.

This year marked the return to an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last conference was held virtually in 2020. The last conference was successfully supported by the local Boca Raton company, TechStrong Group and Media Ops, which ensured it could be attended virtually. We are already looking forward to 2023!

Student Kerry-Ann Bartley shares how the M.S. in Data Science and Analytics program in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science provides training in analytic tools, preparing students with transferrable real world skills.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight |

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Business: Blockchain-powered platform to help people keep their genomic data secure

Launched: 2018

HQs: Miami and Silicon Valley



When most people think of NFTs these days, an image of a melancholy monkey or a pixelated punk might be the first things that comes to mind. But one group of Miami-based entrepreneurs is working on leveraging this blockchain technology to empower users to maintain control of their genomic data. has developed a platform that tokenizes genomic data. By controlling their genomic sequence in a transparent way, users can decide who accesses this information, when they access it, and how. 

“We call this a consent token,” explained’s co-founder and CEO, Daniel Uribe. “It gives permission to share your genomic data with someone for research purposes, and it’s revocable by the donor.” This falls in line with the latest privacy laws, including those in California and Europe.

“Consumers have the right to know what data they have, the right to edit their data, right to port their data, and the right for erasure,” Uribe told South Florida Tech Hub. Before, Uribe worked as an IT cybersecurity expert for multinational firms including Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Ericsson. 

Diversity is a key part of’s business model, asserted its COO, Sharon Holm. “We’re bringing equity to genetics,” she said. Holm highlighted the historical lack of transparency in the world of genomic research. For instance, the case of Henrietta Lacks – one of a diverse group of patients whose cancer cells were collected without her knowledge or consent. 

The result of examples like this, according to Holm: “the African American community over time and through history has been very hesitant to participate in clinical trials.”

“We believe that our platform will enable them to feel more secure: having their results and being able to give consent to then possibly participate in trials to help with furthering medical breakthroughs,” said Holm. “To find cures for the health issues that happen in their particular race.” protects ethical researchers, keeping them compliant with data privacy laws and are B2B and license their technology to researchers.

Uribe has been working in NFTs since 2017. “We’re the only ones working with NFTs and genomic info,” he said. “It makes sense because the human genome is non-fungible by nature.”

Being based in South Florida has presented with a wide range of opportunities. They just finished the Endeavor Miami scaleup program. “It feels like we’ve become part of their family,” noted Holm. She and Uribe hope that the connection with Endeavor will prove advantageous when it comes to raising capital. 

“It was such a well organized program,” Holm said. “Very well thought through and executed wonderfully.” Now, has its sights set on eMerge America’s CNB Startup Studio.

Moving forward, Uribe is excited about the prospect of using MiamiCoins, the City of Miami’s cryptocurrency, for public health. The theory is that through this blockchain, researchers could more easily track Covid-19 variants across the population. “This would be the first time that the MiamiCoin treasure would be used for a public health purpose,” Uribe said.

Industry leaders and researchers brought together for the FAU Data Science Conference
Member Spotlight |