TRU research drives meaningful impact – TRU Newsroom

March 15, 2022 at 2:32 pm  Education, Kamloops, News

Since receiving a Discovery Grant in 2021, Dr. Jabed Tomal from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has focused on interesting and impactful work in housing predictions, drug discovery, public health and big data.

For Tomal, making a positive impact is key: “The goal is for our research to serve the community, to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Housing trends and affordability

Building on his recent study with Associate Professor Hafiz Rahman from the Department of Economics, Tomal is extending his research on how Bill 28, BC’s foreign-buyer tax, helped fuel the booming real-estate market in Chilliwack and Kamloops to other cities around Vancouver.

“Part of my research is finding break points, whether there are any abnormal changes in housing prices,” says Tomal. “I am seeing if there are any threshold effects, or rapid increases, on housing prices in Kelowna, Victoria, Nanaimo, the Fraser Valley, Kamloops and Vancouver itself. I will be surprised if I don’t see similar types of thresholds in these cities as I did in Chilliwack and Kamloops.”

Tomal is also collaborating with the City of Kamloops, researching affordable housing for residents.

“The city is trying to take that route, constructing houses for underprivileged people. So, as a data scientist, I will be helping them develop models that can better explain their data.”

Scientific advancements

He is also keenly interested in studying the impact of big data—large volumes of data—and how it influences research in pure science, biology, ecology and the environment.

“I look at how can we develop models that can use more information from big data,” says Tomal. “Because the more data we have, the more information we have to develop powerful models.”

Tomal is also applying data science tools to help accelerate drug discovery, genetics and public health.

“With drug discovery, predictive models help us detect those chemical compounds that are active against a particular disease, such as lung cancer. The developed models are also applied to genetics where we have data collected from genes. We have tens of thousands of genes in our body, and that constitutes big data. Our goal is to identify genes that are responsible for a particular disease. These genes may appear very interesting to scientists in biological sciences.”

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