Nora Connor
Student Alumni
Computer Science

My research focuses on interpreting correlative data using tools from network science and machine learning. I have applied these methods to the soil microbiome to infer ecological relationships between microbial taxa. I am also studying interactions in political and health care data. As a data scientist based in Washington DC, I have incorporated machine learning methods in demographic models, and used network visualizations to help coordinate care for cancer patients. When I was hired at a health tech start-up company, my employer explained that I was hired because my interdisciplinary background demonstrated that I could think about complex problems and adapt quickly to new challenges.

Nora received a BA in May 2007 and an MA in Biology in 2008 from Wesleyan University. She majored in Biology and her Master's Thesis was on the "Sequence-Based Discovery of Ecological Diversity in Death Valley Bacillus." She completed her PhD in the Department of Computer Science and was a member of Aaron Clauset's Lab. She did her lab rotations in Dr. Brett Melbourne's lab in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, in Dr. Aaron Clauset's lab in Computer Science, and in Dr. Rob Knight's lab in Biochemistry. Nora’s research interest is interpreting observational data using tools from network science, machine learning, and causal inference. She has applied these methods to the soil microbiome to infer ecological relationships between microbial taxa, as well as examining interactions in social and political data. Nora graduated in Summer 2018.

Connor, N. & A. Clauset (2017). “Limits of predictability in policy diffusion from US states to federal law.” (In preparation).

Connor, N., A. Clauset, & A. Barberán (2016). “Using null models to infer microbial co-occurrence networks.” PLoS ONE 12(5): e0176751.

Connor, N., et al. (2010). “Ecology of speciation in the genus Bacillus.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(5): 1349-1358.

Koeppel, A., E.B. Perry, J. Sikorski, D. Krizanc, W.A. Warner, D.M. Ward, A.P. Rooney, E. Brambilla, N. Connor, et al. (2008). “Identifying the fundamental units of bacterial diversity: a paradigm shift to incorporate ecology into bacterial systematics.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105(7): 2504-9.

Connor, N. (2008). “Sequence-based discovery of ecological diversity in Death Valley Bacillus,” M.A. thesis.

NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Interdisciplinary Studies

Former employee at The Messina Group

Senior Data Scientist at Tuple Health