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Satvik Dasariraju ’23 Places Third at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair

Satvik Dasariraju ’23 won third place in the Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Category of the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair. His project, RARE: Machine Learning Approach for Binning Rare Variant Features to Detect Association with Disease, was among 50 international finalists in that category, 1,750 total finalists across categories who'd qualified from their regional fairs, and over seven million worldwide participants at regional fairs.

Dasariraju’s project used machine learning and AI to detect rare variant genetic irregularities associated with a wide range of diseases and disorders, including rejection of transplanted organs. His algorithm, which he named RARE (Relevant Association of Rare-Variant-Bin Evolver), simplifies and improves the analysis, thus making it more widely available. The work can help inform immunosuppression strategies and better donor-recipient pairing.  

The association of rare variants to various diseases is harder to detect and less understood, according to Dasariraju. “To overcome the obstacles to analyzing rare variants, I took a ‘binning’ approach, which considers groups/combinations of rare variants; this approach better accounts for the low frequency of rare variants and additive interactions between rare variants,” he explained. “RARE automatically constructs and evaluates bins of rare variants, seeking to optimize their association to disease outcome. I applied RARE to evaluate the contribution of DNA sequence mismatches between a transplant donor and recipient in kidney graft failure. RARE elucidated bins (combinations) of amino acid mismatches that confer the highest risk of kidney graft failure.”

The Fourth Former found the judging experience to be “super valuable” and said he’s gained a lot of ideas for future directions and improvements based on their suggestions.

“The best part about ISEF was definitely learning from the other finalists' projects since there was an incredible plethora of types of work ranging from behavioral sciences to astronomy-I got to see projects from every continent except Antarctica,” he said.

For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.