Brandon Legried (Mathematics), advised by Sebastien Roch and working with Cecile Ane (Botany and Statistics), is working on mathematical statistics with applications to computational biology. He is studying evolutionary history, usually depicted with a tree. As an inference problem, it is interesting to view extant species information as observed data and reconstruct tree topologies or states of evolving features (such as a DNA sequence). We look to achieve results that extend across many model assumptions. The mathematical challenges involved lie at the intersection of probability and optimization.