Computational biologist, Dr. Sriram Sankararaman, receives NSF award for early career faculty

From Matthew Chin |

Sriram Sankararaman, assistant professor of computer science in the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, the agency’s highest honor for faculty members at the start of their research and teaching careers.

The award includes a five-year, $686,000 grant to support his research to development of new computational tools to analyze very large datasets of genetic information. The tools will focus on understanding the larger picture of human traits and the genes that responsible for them.

This includes figuring out how particular traits are passed down across generations; how those genes are distributed across a population; relationships between multiple genes; and then what impact the environment may have on heredity.

The research funded by the study will bring researchers together from several fields, including computer science, statistics, bioinformatics and human genetics.

Sankararaman’s previous honors include a Sloan Research Fellowship, an Okawa Foundation Research Grant, and UCLA Samueli’s Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching award. He has UCLA faculty appointments in human genetics and computational medicine. A paper in Science Advances with Arun Durvasula, one of his graduate students, received global attention in February.

Sankararaman is the third computer science faculty member to receive the NSF CAREER Award this academic year, joining Guy Van den Broeck and Ravi Netravali.