Machine Learning to Classify Pathogens

May 19, 2020

photo of Gurjit RandhawaGurjit S. Randhawa, a Computer Science PhD student at Western, is the first author of a paper recently published in PLOS One that describes a machine learning-based tool that allows researchers to quickly and easily classify a novel pathogen like COVID-19 virus in just minutes – a process and pace of high importance for strategic planning and mobilizing medical needs during a pandemic.

The results also support the scientific hypothesis that COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) has its origin in bats as Sarbecovirus, a subgroup of Betacoronavirus.   Gurjit has a significant role in the development of the software.

This work is a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration of Western researchers in the Department of Computer Science, Department of Biology and Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences at Western and one researcher at the University of Waterloo (School of Computer Science) who is an adjunct professor at Western.