Ashlee Ford Versypt
Oklahoma State University; Fellow 2006-2010
Ashlee Ford Versypt is a moving target, busy with research, teaching and outreach as an assistant professor in the Oklahoma State University School of Chemical Engineering.
Ford Versypt, a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) recipient from 2006 to 2010, leads the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Research Laboratory. She and her students develop and use multiscale systems engineering approaches, including mathematical modeling and computational simulation, to better understand how diseases and infections affect tissue damage and regrowth and to seek new treatments. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology support her group’s research.
Meanwhile, Ford Versypt also teaches undergraduate chemical engineering classes and an interdisciplinary computational science elective course for seniors and graduate students.
She has garnered multiple awards for her research, teaching, mentoring and outreach, but Ford Versypt says she struggled with imposter syndrome for much of her graduate studies. That began to change in 2013, when she received the Frederick A. Howes Scholar in Computational Science award from the DOE CSGF. “To have my accomplishments in research and in outreach acknowledged with such a high-profile honor was very validating.”
The computational science courses the fellowship requires also formed a foundation for her career, Ford Versypt says, and now her research is wholly within that realm. She trains her team in computational skills but also constantly learns new techniques. In her elective course, she provides students “with tips and tricks from my lessons learned as a computational scientist over the last 15-plus years.”
The class has attracted attendance from across 11 different majors, part of the interdisciplinary nature of Ford Versypt’s work, involving pharmaceuticals, physiology, applied mathematics and more. “We tackle applications in cancer, diabetes, nephrology and immunology.”
Clearly no imposter, Ford Versypt is seeking tenure with a strong record. “I look forward to expanding my research program to work with more trainees and collaborators to further our efforts.”