Zachary Karas - Curriculum Vitae

Education –

2022- current: Vanderbilt University, School of Engineering
Ph.D. Student in Computer Science

GPA: 3.8

2013-2017: New York University, College of Arts & Sciences

Bachelor of Science, Major in Neural Science, joint minor in Math and Computer Science Research Experience

Research Experience –

2022- current:
Vanderbilt University, Computer Science
PhD Student, Advisor: Dr. Yu Huang

Leading studies involving eye-tracking, neuroimaging, and usability testing, resulting in two accepted peer-reviewed publications, and two submissions under review.

  • Eye-tracking for Code Summarization, Collected 35 hours of gaze data on 156 Java methods to analyze fine-grained semantics of code reading
  • Work Environment Mentoring one undergraduate student in the design and execution of a human study (30 participants) testing effects of aroma in work environment, with a forthcoming paper submission
  • Neuroimaging for Software Engineering, Designing experiments for naturalistic coding in MRI machine, eye-tracking usability, and fMRI resting-state analysis
2019- 2022:

University of Michigan, Computer Science & Engineering
Research Assistant, Advisor: Dr. Westley Weimer
Analyzed neuroimaging data for software engineering tasks. My three projects with this group resulted in three accepted peer-reviewed publications in top venues.

  • Functional Connectivity Analysis, Submission to top venue used my analyses of neural activity of code and prose writing
  • Eye Tracking for Formalism Comprehension, Collected and analyzed eye-tracking data (34 participants) to uncover strategies for error detection in formal proofs
  • Novice Neuroimaging, Wrote a mathematical analysis and alignment program that scaled to 2,700 data points in the final data analysis for 2020 publication.
2021- 2022:

University of Michigan, Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
Research Assistant, Advisor: Dr. Lana Garmire
Uncovered subtypes in intermediate stages of Alzheimer’s Disease using computational techniques and machine learning for more targeted clinical interventions and research.

  • Metabolomics of Alzheimer’s Patients, Integrated gene expression and metabolomics data from over 700 patients to uncover novel patient subtypes
  • Alzheimer’s Gene Expression, Wrote original code and used open-source tools to apply advanced analyses (deconvolution, differential expression, gene set enrichment) to patient data
  • MRI of Alzheimer’s Patients’, Preprocessed and analyzed structural MRI images from over 800 patients.
2019- 2021:
University of Michigan, Literature, Science, and the Arts
Research Assistant, Advisor: Dr. Ioulia Kovelman

Organized and analyzed neuroimaging data from over 500 human participants. Ran statistical analyses on processed data to determine significance and correlations.

  • Bilingualism Dataset, Wrote a program restructuring 24,000 data points for open dataset submission
  • Online Longitudinal Study, Created four online tasks being used to test over 400 human participants to assess hypotheses about language processing
  • Language Development, Adapted legacy code to reanalyze neuroimaging data and uncover new findings which are the primary results in manuscript under revision

Publications –

ASE NIER – A Bansal, CY Su, Z Karas, Y Zhang, Y Huang, TJJ Li, C McMillan, Modeling Programmer Attention as Scanpath Prediction

IEEE TSE – A Bansal, Z Eberhart, Z Karas, Y Huang, C McMillan, Function Call Graph Context Encoding for Neural Source Code Summarization 

ICSE – 2023 27% acceptance – H Ahmad, Z Karas, K Diaz, A Kamil, JB Jeannin, W Weimer, How Do We Read Formal Claims? Eye-Tracking and the Cognition of Proofs about Algorithms

JSLHR – R Pasquinelli, AM Tessier, Z Karas, X Hu, I Kovelman, The Development of Left Hemisphere Lateralization for Sentence-Level Prosodic Processing

Data in Brief  – X Sun, K Zhang, R Marks, Z Karas, R Eggleston, N Nickerson, C Yu, N Wagley, X Hu, V Caruso, T Chou, T Satterfield, T Tardif, I Kovelman,
Morphological and phonological processing in English monolingual, Chinese- English bilingual, and Spanish-English bilingual children: An fNIRS neuroimaging dataset 
FSE 2021 19% acceptance –

ICSE 2020 20% acceptance

Under Review –
IEEE TOSEM – Z Karas, A Bansal, Y Zhang, T Li, C McMillan, Y Huang, A Tale of Two Comprehensions? Studying Human Attention During Code Summarization

Relevant Coursework –

Advanced Topics in Software Engineering, Advanced Topics in Computer Security, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Advanced Topics in Deep Learning, Behavioral & Integrative Neuroscience, Development & Dysfunction of the Nervous System 

Work Experience –
Adlai E. Stevenson High SchoolPole Vault & Assistant Cross Country Coach 
  • Taught pole vault and distance running fundamentals to over 200 athletes 

  • 2021 Livonia City Champions, four individual state qualifiers
2017- 2018:
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Educator/Deckhand
  • Educated hundreds of schoolchildren and adults about environmental sciences and Hudson River history to cultivate an appreciation for local ecosystems
  • Collaboratively crewed the 108′ vessel and completed maintenance over the Winter
2013- 2017
New York University
Captain, Four-Year Varsity Athlete, Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track
  • Qualified for 2016 NCAA Division lll Cross Country Championships
Awards & Honors –
Russell G. Hamilton Scholar, Dean’s Graduate Fellowship (Vanderbilt University), Engineering Graduate Fellowship (Vanderbilt University)

Skills –
Programming Languages: Python, Linux, Matlab, R, Java
Other Languages: Proficient in French, LaTeX
Software Expertise: Microsoft Suite, Qualtrics, RedCap


Westley Weimer, Ph.D.,
Full Professor
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan. 
Ioulia Kovelman, Ph.D., 
Associate Professor Department of Psychology, University of Michigan. 
Yu Huang, Ph.D., 
Research Assistant Professor Computer Science Vanderbilt University.