May 3, 2006

Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3679; 907-9525 (cell)


ALBUQUERQUE , NM UNM computer science graduate student Nick Pattengale has been selected as this year's winner of the UNM Student Award for Innovation in Informatics for his paper entitled, "A Sublinear-Time Randomized Approximation Scheme for the Robinson-Foulds Metric."

The annual award recognizes a UNM graduate or undergraduate student for the best paper describing innovation or research in the field of informatics the science of managing information for healthcare and related research.

Pattengale recently received his Master's Degree in Computer Science with a specialization in phylogenetics and plans to continue with a Ph.D. "My interest is algorithm design/analysis/experimentation, especially in the areas of genome rearrangment, protein structure and function, and quantum computation," he said. He also has worked at Sandia National Laboratory for the past three years.

In his paper, Pattengale explains his mathematical tool that can be used for biocomputing applications in modeling proteins and genetics at the molecular level. He received a check for $250 and the chance to present his work at the "Biocomputing @ UNM 2006" conference.

The scope of biomedical informatics encompasses life sciences, computational science, and information science, including research in how people interact with new technological approaches. "In today's data-rich clinical and research environments, it is absolutely vital to apply the concepts of biomedical informatics in finding the best way to collect, store, analyze, maintain, and ensure access to information," says Philip Kroth, M.D., assistant director for Health Sciences Informatics Program Development. "Nick Pattengale's work is testament to the developing science of informatics and its imminent role in healthcare research."

The Student Award is jointly sponsored by the UNM School of Medicine, Division of Biocomputing and the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC). Entries were judged by a panel comprised of faculty from the Biocomputing Division and the HSLIC.

More information on biomedical informatics or the UNM Student Award for Innovation in Informatics can be found at the HSLIC website:

Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3322