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Pratyush Tiwary's student, Senior Pavan Ravindra, wins prestigious 2021 Churchill Scholarship

Pavan Ravindra, a biochemistry and computer science dual major, has won one of 17 Churchill Scholarships awarded in 2021 in the United States.

Mr. Ravindra joined the laboratory of assistant professor Pratyush Tiwary (IPST/Chemistry and Biochemistry) in 2018, where he worked with graduate student Zachary Smith on the problem of finding ways to describe proteins and chemical systems more generally. It was through this research collaboration that both developed an algorithm named AMINO, Automatic Mutual Information Noise Omission. The algorithm describes proteins and chemical systems using a minimal set of parameters—a difficult task that is usually done manually. AMINO led to a first-author paper for Mr. Ravindra, published in the journal Molecular Systems Design and Engineering in 2019, and a second-author paper that applied AMINO to complex biophysical problems, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry in 2020. 

"Along with graduate students in my lab, Pavan has continued working on challenging problems combining the frontiers of physical chemistry with artificial intelligence. This includes new method development, as well as applications to different ambitious and relevant problems, such as how molecules fundamental to life—proteins, DNA and RNA—adopt different shapes and forms," Tiwary said. "Predicting this flexibility is often the key to designing effective, nontoxic drugs for different diseases. Pavan's methods are helping make it possible to predict this flexibility in an inexpensive, effective and insightful manner."

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