Undergraduate Research Program

Alina Chandra

Major: Computer Science
Mentor: Jennifer Rabbitts, Department of Anesthesiology, Seattle Children’s Hospital


Current research project: Predicting Surgical Outcomes with In-Hospital Function in Adolescents Undergoing Major Musculoskeletal Surgery


Nuria is a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in global health at the University of Washington. Nuria came to UW interested in pursuing a career in medicine or biochemical research. During her freshman and sophomore year, she was introduced to computer science and data analysis, and found a passion for using computational thinking to approach complex problems. Nuria is interested in the intersection between computer science and problems in healthcare and social systems. In her free time, Nuria enjoys reading, hiking, running, and printmaking.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Genome-wide association studies have found thousands of correlations between genetic variants and diseases. However, most of these variants are difficult to study experimentally because they act differently in different cell types. Deep learning, a type of machine learning, is the leading tool used to predict the effects of regulatory variants across different cell types and conditions. The ability to accurately predict the cellular consequences of genetic variants is essential to understand genetic disease susceptibility and develop personalized treatment systems. My project aims to develop a deep learning model to find DNA sequence patterns which regulate gene expression across a large collection of different immune cell types.



When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research because I wanted to explore science beyond the classroom. When I first got to UW I reached out to several professors doing interesting research, but unfortunately none of them had openings for me. Then I met with a URP advisor who advised me to apply to the SCAN Design Innovations in Pain research internship, which resulted in my first undergraduate research opportunity.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
You might face some rejection, but don’t give up. Go to the Undergraduate Research Program instead!