NCSA-CompGen Fellowships awarded to 2 graduate students

01.30.15 -

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the CompGen Initiative have selected University of Illinois graduate students Arjun Athreya and Marcelo Cardoso dos Reis Melo as the spring 2015 NCSA-CompGen Fellows.

The two graduate fellows receive research assistantships, access to NCSA resources, and space in the NCSA Building and will pursue projects that use cyberinfrastructure, such as supercomputers and high-bandwidth networking, to address biological problems. The graduate fellows also will contribute to the development of NCSA’s Bioinformatics and Health Sciences research theme, led by Victor Jongeneel.

Melo is a PhD candidate in Biophysics and Computational Biology. His project aims to improve understanding of leucine-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS), a molecule that senses leucine levels in cells and influences metabolism, growth and proliferation by directly influencing cell signaling pathways. His advisors are Zan Luthey-Schulten on the computational aspects of his work and Susan Martinis on the biological ones.

Athreya is pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a graduate student in the DEPEND Research Group of the Coordinated Science Lab. He and his fellow graduate student Will Gundling (Molecular and Integrative Physiology) plan to create and test a theoretical model of how life choices and events have long-term impacts on the patterns of gene expression in individuals and their offspring. Their advisers are Ravi Iyer (computation) and Derek Wildman (biology).

“The appointment of these new NCSA-CompGen Fellows, and the involvement of their respective advisors in the projects they will be developing, is one of the many ways that we are strengthening our links with campus researchers and building up new research areas at NCSA,” said Jongeneel.

CompGen is an initiative of the Coordinated Science Laboratory and the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois. For more information see