BIG Math Network Industry Connection Series: UnitedHealth Group

The Industry Connection Series features interactive panels with mathematical scientists working in industry. The goal is to connect mathematical sciences students directly with industry members who can answer student-generated questions. Students at all levels are welcome and encouraged to attend and ask questions.

The next event is coming soon on Thursday, April 28th, 2022, at 10am PT/11am MT/12pm CT/1pm ET. Industry panelists from United Health Group will be Dr. Natalie Sheils, Director of Healthcare Economics and Product Analytics, and Dr. Irfan Bulu, Distinguished Scientist in AI. The event will be moderated by Dr. Jessica De Silva, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Stanislaus State University.

Register for the Zoom event here!

Update: registration for this event has ended. If you would like to attend the event this afternoon, please email with your Name, Email, and position at university. To be notified in advance of next month’s event, please join our mailing list today.

Natalie Sheils is currently a director of healthcare economics and product analytics at Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group and spent the last few years at Optum Labs as a research scientist focused on AI and computational tools for healthcare. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group and beginning a career in healthcare research Natalie earned her PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Washington and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics. Natalie is an author of many peer-reviewed journal articles and a frequent speaker at conferences, seminars, and colloquia. She was awarded a graduate research fellowship by the National Science Foundation and many early career and student travel awards from SIAM. Natalie has always maintained interest in policy, especially as it relates to science and served as an early career fellow for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Committee on Science Policy in 2018 and 2019. Currently, she is serving a three-year term on the American Mathematics Society (AMS) Committee on Science Policy. 

Irfan Bulu received his PhD in Physics from Bilkent University in 2007. The focus of his PhD work was novel structures such as photonic crystals, plasmonic devices and metamaterials for controlling the flow of light. Irfan then joined Prof. Marko Loncar’s lab at Harvard University for postdoc after completing his PhD. There, he tackled problems and challenges in communication security and communication bandwidth using diamond nano-photonic structures. In 2013, Irfan took a career in industrial research at Schlumberger, the largest oil field services company, which marked the start of an exciting journey of taking innovations from lab to products at the hands of customers. This work led him to a career in machine learning as both the design of the instrument and interpretation of various measurements in oil field benefited from advances in deep learning. Irfan joined UnitedHealth Group in 2018, where he now researches machine learning algorithms for healthcare applications.

Jessica De Silva is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Stanislaus State University. She is an Azorean-American who grew up in Hilmar, California, a small town with many dairy farms. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Stanislaus State, Jessica moved half-way across the country to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). At UNL Jessica began her research program in extremal graph theory and discovered a passion for teaching undergraduate mathematics. Now that she is back at her undergraduate institution, Jessica has had the opportunity to expand her research program to include applications of graph theory to image processing and data science.

The BIG Math Network is grateful for sponsorship by the American Mathematical Society (AMS), American Statistical Association (ASA), Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), Mathematical Association of America (MAA), Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

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