Undergraduate Research Program

Sharmila Roy

Sharmila SmilingMajor: Computer Science
Mentor: Amarda Shehu, Department of Computer Science

Contact: sharm1@uw.edu

Current research project: Systematic Study of Different Design Decisions in Markov Model-based Analysis of Molecular Structure Data


Sharmila is an undergraduate student studying Computer Science at the University of Washington. She is interested in using computer science to help give meaning to data from several different fields such as finance, physics, and biology. In addition to her research, she has worked at multiple corporations in the technology industry. In her free time, she enjoys dancing/choreographing, solving puzzles, writing, and trying new foods.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My work involves studying the movement of the protein Met-enkephalin, a naturally occurring opioid peptide. By using mathematical techniques to identify which states the protein spends the majority of its time in, we can better understand which molecules the protein can bind with in order to deliver novel and refined pharmaceutical drugs.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I wanted to be involved in undergraduate research in order to gain a deeper understanding about my field and have the opportunity to contribute to the scientific community. In addition to the technical knowledge, I wanted to have a chance to see how the research process works.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Go for it! Deciding to pursue research was one of the most impactful decisions I have ever made, and the lessons I have learned extend far beyond the lab. Being a researcher, I can question any information I see, and understand it on a deeper level by learning about the process used to attain that information. No matter the field, research changes the way you learn for the better.