Bringing the Cosmos to the DNA: Navigating Bioinformatics as a Physicist


Add to Cal
  • Speaker: Dr. Ben Koester (U-M Medical Center, Human Genetics)
  • Host Department: Physics
  • Date: 02/01/2013
  • Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Location: 335 West Hall

  • Description:

    The 21st century has brought about a technological revolution that is allowing biologists to collect an ongoing avalanche of data. While there is no shortage of data, most researchers recognize that there is a shortage of new techniques to analyze and assimilate the data into coherent models. "Bioinformatics" has emerged as a new field that addresses this challenge. In this talk, I'll describe how the skills I honed as an astrophysicist, twists of fate, and curiosity have led to my transition into bioinformatics after doing a Ph.D. in physics and a postdoc in astrophysics. I will then present examples of a fundamentally new analysis of DNA sequence data based on statistics originally developed by cosmologists, and conclude with a short discussion of how these results may be used to understand disease or to unravel the processes of evolution.