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Oct. 17: Folding genomes
On the left, Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, will speak at UD on Tuesday. On the right, Victoria Stodden, an associate professor in information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will speak at UD in the spring of 2018.

Oct. 17: Folding genomes

Photo illustration by Joy Smoker

Computer scientist, geneticist will discuss his methods to probe genome folding

The first lecture in the University of Delaware Department of Computer & Information Sciences (CIS) Distinguished Speaker Lectures is Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 10:15 a.m. in Gore Recital Hall.

Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, will give a talk titled “Parallel Processing of the Genomes, by the Genomes and for the Genomes.”

He plans to discuss how the human genome folds in three dimensions, a configuration that enables the cell to access and process massive quantities of information in parallel. Aiden has developed a method to probe how genomes fold.

In 2014, his laboratory reported the first comprehensive map of loops across the human genome, mapping their anchors with single-base-pair resolution. In 2015, his lab showed that these loops form by extrusion, and that it is possible to add and remove loops and domains in a predictable fashion using targeted mutations as short as a single base pair.

In 2012, he received the President's Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the highest government honor for young scientists, from former President Barack Obama. In 2014, Fast Company called him "America's brightest young academic." In 2015, his laboratory was recognized on the floor of the US House of Representatives for its discoveries about the structure of DNA.

“Erez is combining biology, mathematics, and computer science to advance discovery in evolutionary sciences,” said UD’s Michela Taufer, a J.P Morgan Chase Scholar and professor in computer and information sciences.

Guests at this lecture will have the opportunity to hear about Aiden’s new accelerated hardware and transformative computational algorithms to enable folding patterns to assemble genome sequences more easily and faster than ever for applications such as determining the genome sequence of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

The theme of this year’s CIS Distinguished Speaker is rising stars in a scientific world of convergence. According to the National Science Foundation, “convergence can be characterized as the deep integration of knowledge, techniques, and expertise from multiple fields to form new and expanded frameworks for addressing scientific and societal challenges and opportunities.” The NSF has defined this as a priority area.


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