Sriram Sankararaman, an 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, $644,000 research grant to support his research for the development of new computational tools to analyze giant datasets of genetic information. The tools will focus on understanding the larger picture of human traits and the genes responsible for them.

This includes figuring out how particular traits are passed down from generation to generation, how those genes are distributed across a population, relationships between multiple genes, and 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 faculty appointments in human genetics and computational medicine. His paper 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.