Loyola University Chicago



BS Bioinformatics Major wins National Undergrad Research Award

Senior Bioinformatics major Larry Kalesinskas was nominated for the Computing Research Association (CRA) Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research. Amongst a very impressive group of nominees, Larry was awarded an Honorable Mention. Larry has co-authored several scientific papers through his research work with both Drs. Mark Albert (Computer Science) and Catherine Putonti (Biology/Computer Science) including:

  • Price, T. K., Mehrtash, A., Kalesinskas, L., Malki, K., Hilt, E. E., Putonti, C., & Wolfe, A. J. (2016). Genome sequences and annotation of two urinary isolates of E. coli. Stand Genomic Sci, 11: 79.
  • Price, T. K., Shaheen, M., Kalesinskas, L., Malki, K., Hilt, E. E., Putonti, C., & Wolfe, A. J. (2016). Draft Genome Sequence for a urinary isolate of Lactobacillus crispatus. Genome Announc, 4: e01278-16.
  • Orendorff, E. E., Kalesinskas, L., Palumbo, R., & Albert, MV. (2016) Bayesian Analysis of Perceived Eye Level. Front Comput Neurosci. In Press.

Larry is a double major in Bioinformatics and Biology and minoring in Biostatistics and Computer Science. He plans to continue research in bioinformatics and is presently applying to PhD programs.


A list of the winners, runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions appears below. Announcement of the awards will be posted on CRA's website (www.cra.org) later this month. In addition, the January 2017 issue of Computing Research Newswill include an article on the awards.

BS Bioinformatics Majors Published

BS Bioinformatics majors engaged in research have contributed to peer-reviewed publications in the scientific literature. Most recent publications include:

  • Andrea Garretto ('18) is first author led the effort to characterize the viral species present within the bladders of women with and without overactive bladder symptoms in the Journal of General Virology.
  • Taylore Miller-Ensminger ('20), Andrea Garretto ('18), and Jon Brenner ('15) published the first catalog of phages in the bladder microbiota in the Journal of Bacteriology.
  • Employing standard machine learning techniques, the work of Michael Courtois ('16) describes how recognition algorithms can be implemented to collect movement data in tracking therapy and recovery of patients in the Journal of NeuroEngineering & Rehabilitation.
  • New Baysian analyses explain the role of internal balance cues and visual stimuli on perceived eye level in a recent publication co-authored by Larry Kalesinskas ('17) in Fronteirs in Computational Neuroscience.
  • The role of the bacterium Lactobacillus crispatus on urinary health remains unknown. Majed Shaheen ('17) and Larry Kalesinskas ('17) have analyzed the genome of a new L. crispatus strain isolated from a healthy individual in their recent publication in Genome Announcements.
  • The first genomes of Gardnerella species isolated from the bladder. Trina Sircar ('16), alongside other researchers at Loyola, explored the genic content of these important members of the urinary microbiome. The abundance of bacteriophage (viruses which infect bacteria) sequences integrated within the Gardnerella genomes suggests that phages may play a significant role in the microbial community dynamics of the bladder. More details about this discovery can be found within their article at PLoS One.
  • Andrea Garretto ('18) is co-author on a publication describing the complete genomes of seven bacteriophage isolated from microbial communities from adult female bladders in Genome Announcements.