Headshots of Anjalie Field and Xiangyang Li.
Anjalie Field and Xiangyang Li

Computer science faculty Anjalie Field and Xiangyang Li are among the recipients of the latest round of Nexus Awards bestowed by the Johns Hopkins University.

The 40 projects funded this round span every academic division of the university and include nearly 150 scholars exploring a diversity of topics, from climate resilience and population displacement to generative AI and enhanced learning to mental health and health equity.

This is the second round of funding distributed via the Nexus Awards, a $15 million program designed to support research, teaching, and event programming at the new Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center, which officially opened in the fall of 2023. Funding for award recipients begins July 1.

With this second cohort of Nexus Award winners, we are building on the momentum underway at the Hopkins Bloomberg Center, as faculty from across Johns Hopkins convene policymakers and the public, embark on innovative research, and inspire our students to engage society’s greatest challenges,” says JHU President Ron Daniels.

AI-Powered Strategies to Address Inequities in Deaths of Despair: A Series of Translational Workshops, a project on which Anjalie Field, an assistant professor of computer science, is an investigator, won a Nexus Award in the Convening category, which provides funding for the development and execution of an academic or policy-focused conference or conference series.

Led by Emily Haroz, an associate professor of international and mental health affiliated with the Center for Indigenous Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the project seeks to leverage AI to advance equity in the prevention of premature mortality. Working directly with key government agencies that serve the populations most at-risk for deaths of despair—behavior-related but preventable medical conditions including alcohol-related disease, overdose, and suicide, that are primary drivers of falling life expectance rates—the series of five workshops will provide strategic guidance on how to apply AI technologies to better serve those most in need.

“I’m excited to co-organize and participate in the workshops from the computer science perspective,” Field says. “I think more dialogue between AI researchers, policymakers, and practitioners is essential for understanding how this technology can affect people and developing ways to serve populations in need without creating new inequities.”

Generative AI for Business, a comprehensive introductory course designed to immerse students in the dynamic fields of generative artificial intelligence, won an award in the Teaching category. The eight-week, graduate-level course is a collaboration between Minghong Xu and Graeme Warren, assistant professors of practice at the Carey Business School, and Xiangyang Li, an associate teaching professor of computer science and the director of the Department of Computer Science’s Master of Science in Security Informatics program.

The course will provide Johns Hopkins students, especially those not in computer science or engineering majors, with highly sought-after technical and non-technical literacy in the AI era. By exploring both the theoretical underpinnings and practical applications of AI, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the most advanced models and their impact across various business sectors.

“This course and project have the potential to connect faculty and students interested in AI from multiple schools and academic units at JHU and to reach out to the general public through student projects on various AI-related topics,” says Li.