Smarak Pattnaik

Smarak Pattnaik

Home Institution
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Year Participated

Year in School

REU Faculty Mentor
Mohammed El-Kebir

Research Area Interest
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Project Title

Biography & Research Abstract


A tree that models the evolutionary development of a tumor is known as a phylogeny. A phylogeny is useful for downstream analyses, such as treatment decision-making or studying patterns of evolution. However, phylogeny inference from bulk DNA sequencing yields a set of trees that equally explain the observed data. Since downstream methods are not designed for large sets of trees, combinatorial methods have been developed to summarize this solution space. In our work, we will utilize machine learning methods to find an efficient representation for this solution space of trees such that the information content in downstream analyses is maximized. 


I am Smarak Pattnaik, a sophomore majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in Statistics at UIUC. I have a keen interest in machine learning and AI, and their applications in the healthcare and finance sectors. Being a part of a bioinformatics project this summer was very enjoyable, as I was able to learn a lot from an interdisciplinary point of view. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer, basketball, and running among other athletic activities. Over the past few months, I have also begun cooking and reading books.