A headshot of a woman who is standing in front a pink and green bush.

Josie Lamp, class of 2023, discovered her passion for computer science in high school when she wanted to program a tutu to change colors with music while she danced. This fostered a passion in engineering that led her to pursue a PhD with the Computer Science department in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and to become a student resident at the Link Lab who works with faculty member Dr. Lu Feng.  


A native of Firestone, Colorado; Josie’s love of the outdoors was inspired by her upbringing on the plains. In Charlottesville she loves to hike and be amongst the lush green and trees. Some of her favorite memories from her childhood include hiking, camping, and riding ATVs through the Rocky Mountains. Along with her love of the outdoors, Josie also loves to dance and spent much of her childhood dreaming of being a prima ballerina. One of her favorite parts of being a resident in the Lab has been mentoring other students. Giving back in this way allows her to give guidance and advice to others the way that mentors in her life have done for her. 


Josie Lamp tutu_0.jpg

When talking about how she found her passion for engineering Josie said, “My whole career, I have been kind of an odd duck straddling many different areas. Growing up, I was a dancer and I originally got interested in computer science not because I wanted to be an engineer, but because I wanted to find a way to build a light-up tutu that actively changed colors to music when I danced. I wanted to build it myself, so with some help from an awesome computer science teacher (Mr. Richard Guenther), I learned how to build and solder circuits and write code. The tutu was pretty cool when it was finished, but I think the biggest thing I took away was how awesome computer science was as a tool. Continuing the interdisciplinary streak, in undergrad I majored in biomedical informatics and minored in dance, worked at the on-campus Apple Store fixing computers, performed research in a cybersecurity and digital forensics lab studying cybersecurity issues for energy delivery systems (smart grids). Looking back, my experiences in these very diverse areas are what have allowed me to be a great engineer and help solve important and interesting problems. This is what makes the Link Lab so great; being surrounded by people from different backgrounds and perspectives really allows you to open your mind to innovation and creativity.”


What three words have described your life in the last year?

Impassioned, thankful, illuminating.

What is something about you that you wish other people knew about you?

I really love superheroes and comics (specifically Marvel). My office and house are covered in superhero memorabilia. 

What kind of projects have you worked on while at the Link Lab?

Broadly speaking, my research is at the intersection of healthcare, computer science and cybersecurity. 

In one project, I am developing privacy-preserving machine learning techniques for clinical decision support systems, which are systems that intelligently aggregate patient data to help clinicians and patients make better decisions and improve patient outcomes. The idea is to allow clinicians to learn from local patient data in order to characterize various patient conditions, allowing better diagnoses and treatment decisions. In this, the amount of sensitive health information that may be disclosed about individual patients is bounded, thereby protecting the patient data. 

In another project, I am working with a phenomenal cardiovascular surgeon at the UVA Health Center, Dr. Sula Mazimba, to develop ways to better predict patient status, quality of life and patient outcomes in advanced heart failure patients. Heart failure is a serious disease that affects more than 6 million people in the United States, and about half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis.

In my project, we are developing new machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities using formal methods, namely temporal logic, to associate hemodynamics indices, different pressures in the heart, and other measures with outcomes to help better understand and predict patient state. Our ultimate goal is developing a risk score that uses personalized features like hemodynamics, lab, and medicine values and returns an easy-to-use score that describes the patient state and likelihood of future outcomes. Clinicians can then use this to better treat their advanced heart failure patients.

What kind of superhero ability would you want to have in order to best aid your research? 

For the cardiology research project, having superhuman empathy to be able to understand and sense how others are feeling would be extremely helpful. More light needs to be shed on how advanced heart failure manifests itself and the toll it takes on the body. Having this ability would allow for better connections between researcher and patient.

Humans of Link Lab is a new initiative of UVA's Link Lab to exhibit the interesting people who work in the space and their passions both inside and outside of the Lab. To see more content, connect with us on Instagram (@linklabatuva), Twitter (@UVALinkLab), and LinkedIn (UVA Engineering Link Lab).