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LSUS - Caddo Magnet High collaboration leads to a great achievement

July 21, 2014

Members of the Laboratory for Biomedical Informatics (LABi) at LSU Shreveport worked with Caddo Magnet High 16 year old sophomore Venkatesh Sivaraman during the 2013-14 school year on a project titled "SNAP: A Novel Algorithm for Fast Global Sequence Alignment and Database Search." Venkatesh was assisted by Dr. Marjan Trutschl, Mr. Phillip Kilgore and Dr. Urska Cvek, all members of LABi, utilizing their 312-core Apple cluster to take advantage of the parallel infrastructure. SNAP stands for Segmented Numerical Alignment Preprocessing and is designed to perform fast searches of protein data. Based on the two test datasets, SNAP was significantly faster than BLAST (the conventional tool for sequence database search) and equal to BLAST in terms of accuracy.

Venkatesh won 4th place in the Louisiana Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) held at the LSU Baton Rouge campus on January 17-18, 2014. He was selected to serve as an observer with an all-expense paid trip to the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force sponsored 52nd National JSH Symposium held in Washington, D.C. April 23-27, 2014. JSHS is a prestigious scholarship program that engages Grades 9-12 in scientific inquiry and is a collaborative effort with the research arm of the Department of Defense and administered in cooperation with colleges and universities nationwide. 

The project was also entered in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2014 competition held in Los Angeles, California May 11-16, 2014. Eligible students are 9th through 12th graders who earned the right to compete at the Intel ISEF 2014 by winning a top prize at a local, regional, state or national science fair. Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition, providing an annual forum for approximately 1,700 high school students from more than 70 countries, regions and territories that showcase their independent research as they compete for more than $5 million in prizes annually. Venkatesh was awarded 3rd place in Computer Science with a $1,000 prize and two special awards: $1,500 Data Award by and $1,000 IEEE Computer Science First Award. He was also selected as an alternate for an all-expenses-paid trip to CERN in Switzerland, funded by CERN and Intel. 

The Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics (LABi) represents the foundation of biomedical informatics activities at LSU Shreveport and provides an academic and research environment where faculty, researchers and students from a wide range of fields work shoulder-to-shoulder, solving real-life problems. The results of this cross-pollination of expertise are sophisticated tools, techniques, and applications. The researchers at LABi are utilizing powerful computers with the ultimate goal of turning complex and diverse data sets into valuable knowledge that enhances the understanding, prevention, and treatment of diseases. LABi is located in Technology Center on a beautiful LSUS campus. Directors of LABi, Professor Urška Cvek, Sc.D., MBA and Professor Marjan Trutschl, Sc.D., can be contacted at or by calling (318)795-4266 / (318)797-5131.

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