Harris Manchester College

VCU School of Business professor reflects on Summer Research Institute at Oxford 

Manoj Thomas

Manoj Thomas, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Information Systems in the VCU School of Business, is one of the university‚Äôs most recent participants in the . We recently talked to him about his experience and how he benefitted from this unique experience. 

Why did you apply for the Harris Manchester Summer Research Institute? 

I applied to the Harris Manchester Summer Research Institute (HMSRI) to take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with world class researchers at Oxford University and to meet other international researchers attending the Institute. Specifically, I was very interested in meeting Professor Patrik Rorsman at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, a renowned expert in diabetic medicine. His research expertise in insulin regulation and glucagon secretion mechanisms would greatly inform my research aimed at inducing behavior change for diabetes management.

What project did you address during the Harris Manchester Summer Research Institute? 

My goal was to meet researchers at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes and discuss my research project. My research investigated the use of machine learning techniques for lifestyle management of diabetes patients. The research explores how inputs from continuous glucose monitors and technologies such as Fitbit, Garmin Vivomove and Apple Watch may be combined to induce behavior change for diabetes management.

How did your participation in the Institute impact your project? 

I greatly benefitted from the summer institute. Professor Patrik Rorsman put me in touch with his research team at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, and we were able to discuss a collaborative research project between VCU and Oxford University to further the study.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

HMSRI is a great opportunity for researchers to meet academics from all over the world who convene at Oxford for a week. Very few places provide a sensory immersion into the history of science like the magnificent libraries and historical archives at Oxford. The summer researcher fellows gain exclusive access to all libraries and resources that are restricted to most. Whether it is the Radcliffe library or the J.R.R. Tolkein displays at the Ashmolean museum or a brew at the Kings Arms pub, there is something for everyone attending the Harris Manchester Summer Research Institute.