- BTech in Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
- Hometown: New Tehri, Uttarakhand, India
- Field of Study: Computational Biology & Machine Learning
- PhD Advisor: Predrag Radivojac
What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?
I am pursuing a PhD in Computer Science and my research is in computational biology and machine learning.
So far, I have worked on some very interesting and diverse projects in positive-unlabeled learning, health informatics (gestational diabetes) and assessment of protein function prediction methods.
What are your research interests in a bit more detail? Is your current academic/research path what you always had in mind for yourself, or has it evolved somewhat? If so, how/why?
There are many powerful and meaningful uses of various kinds of biological data, especially in healthcare. Part of my PhD is dedicated to learning how to accurately curate and learn from such data.
I am also interested in studying how accurately (or not) current state-of-art methods for protein function prediction are deployed and perceived by the end users.
I had a very general sense of where my curiosities lie, but it has taken a lot of education and experience to narrow down to my current research path.
What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?
I would like to sensitize the end users of machine learning tools ( in computational biology) to why a method does what it does (features used, accuracy measures used, etc) so that the deployment is more informed. And I want to sensitize the developer more to the practical needs of the end user. This is important now, more than ever because such tools are being used widely to make very important decisions, example medical decisions and mistakes are very expensive (in terms of both – life and money).
What aspect of what you do is most interesting/fascinating to you? What aspects of your research (findings, angles, problems you’re solving) might surprise others?
How computer scientists can work along with doctors, biologists and mathematicians to solve some very exciting biological problems is most interesting to me.
The amount of work and brainstorming that goes into designing medical studies with human subjects, getting the approvals, conducting the study and analyzing data is humungous. It takes lot of patience, work and collaboration. This might be interesting/surprising to others.
What are your research/career goals, going forward?
I look forward to an exciting research career in computational biology and/or health informatics in industry or in academia.
Where did you grow up/spend the most defining years of your childhood/young adulthood?
I grew up in Tehri. It is a very beautiful and quiet hill station in Uttarakhand, India. I could see snow clad Himalayas from my window at home. My home town is known for Tehri Dam, the highest dam in India.
After high school, I have lived in several Indian cities for education and work, including Kota, Roorkee, Bangalore and Delhi. Also, I spent first year of my PhD at Bloomington, Indiana.
Where did you study for your undergraduate degree? Any reason in particular behind your choice (a program you were excited about, a city you love, a researcher you wanted to work with)?
I pursued my undergrad education in Biotechnology at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. I chose this particular program as it was was very diverse and interdisciplinary. It was a great intersection of my intellectual interests and it helped me to understand the breadth and depth of Biotechnology. Besides, the overall opportunities (academic & extra-curriculars), along with top-notch professors and peers was a big plus.