Himanshu Reddy, a senior computer science student at The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Science, has been awarded the 2023 Graham F. Carey Computational Science Scholarship.
The Carey Scholarship was established to honor the important work of Professor Graham F. Carey in computational sciences. The $2,500 scholarship is awarded annually and gives preference to participants in the undergraduate Computational Science and Engineering Certificate (CSE) Program and to UT Austin students in the Moncrief Summer Internship Program at the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering & Sciences.
Himanshu discovered computational biology in high school, joining the Big Data in Biology Research Stream as a college freshman. There he learned the fundamentals of bioinformatics and spent his sophomore year working on a research project that characterized the genetic landscape of cancerous multiple myeloma cell lines. His group has presented their work several times and won the 2022 CNS Award for Excellence in Statistics, Data Science, and Computational Biology.
That same year, he took a computational and systems biology course from Oden Institute affiliated faculty member Stephen Yi who is Director of Bioinformatics, Developmental Therapeutics Lab at Dell Medical School.
“In Dr. Yi’s class, I developed a broader overview of the field and learned about the research that the Yi lab was working on,” said Himanshu. “Ultimately, I completed a final project with a small group where we compared a newer reference genome to previously established standards.”
For a natural language processing course he took the following semester, Himanshu again worked under the direction of Stephen Yi. This time it was to create and benchmark a system to predict the strength of enhancers – parts of DNA that regulate gene expression – based on their sequences. Himanshu is currently continuing his work with the Yi lab to improve the model.
This summer, Himashu will intern at Ginkgo Bioworks, a biotechnology company that applies computational techniques in the synthetic biology space. “I’ll be working on developing computer programs that help us better engineer organisms,” he enthused.
In addition to helping him pay for college, winning the Carey Scholarship has introduced Himanshu to more researchers who share his passion for computational biology.
“I'm hoping that the Carey scholarship will help my career and allow me to grow into a pretty adept computational biologist over time,” said Himanshu. “When I went to the recent awards ceremony, I met other people in the Oden Institute, and that was great to meet others who are working in the field.”
Donations to supplement the Graham F. Carey Computational Science Scholarship may be made online here.