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  • Who needs it: Biologists, especially molecular biologists, but also ecologists and population genetics people; biochemists; pharmacologists. In Arts and Sciences, entomologists too. Agricultural researchers, especially plant pathologists and physiologists and animal scientists, but also including other agronomists, horticulturalists, etc.. Pathobiologists and clinical researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine. People in food safety and at the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center (NABC). Computer scientists from intelligent systems to computer architecture to programming language theorists, as an application area; statisticians, and mathematicians for similar reasons. Chemoinformatics and computational physics, for tips of the trade.

  • Why we need it: See the application domains above for specific reasons. As with Library Science, it's also a sign that you have arrived on the scene if you can tie together some of these areas. Also, as with BME, it's a good way to become more marketable, garner NIH and NSF funding, and just gain prestige as a "Research One" university.

  • When we need it (and how long we've needed it): We've been ready for no more than five years, if that. I was part of the first wave of bioinformatics people who organized circa 2001 and really started making the big postdoc hires only in 2003 and the big faculty hires only in 2006. Doina Caragea is our first fully-fledged bioinformatician in CS, though people such as Sue Brown in Biology, Clare Nelson in Plant Path, Steve Welch in Agronomy, Sanjoy Das in EECE, and myself work on various bioinformatics projects.

  • How bad we need it: Once again, it's a question of opportunity costs, but this time I can put a name to a face: NSF has had the Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR), Arabidopsis 2010, and Biological Databases and Informatics (BDI) programs; we have our Ecological Genomics and Arthropod Genomics programs from NSF and Targeted Excellence; and then there are all the NIH R01 projects.

  • Where it should live (i.e., to what college it should belong): I, personally, would like to see it in Agriculture, but perhaps the Division of Biology would be appropriate as they also have a strong program in molecular genetics. As with Library Science and Linguistics, it already exists in "spread out" form, and this is more of a need for principled, consolidated growth and program development.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 7th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
wow - so much to get caught up on.

my thesis project is the evolution of drug resistance in a human fungal pathogen via re-sequencing. I have 13 AIDS patients who came in 2-17 times over the course of a two year study with infection. Every time they came in, a sample was taken. They all had drug resistant strains after the first visit.

I'm going to re-do the evolutionary trajectories to identify all known, and hopefully novel mutations that contribute to the drug resistance. Hurrah for Illumina.

In the event that I fail my prelim, want a grad student? I have an NSF and stuff =(
Nov. 9th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Evolution of drug resistance
We have entomologists and also some wet lab biologists who are pretty good evolutionary biologists, but I haven't really see an evolution and ethology collaboration that the rest of us can get in on. Then again, my background in genomics is limited to gene regulatory network modeling from microarray data, plus a little bit more now on protein-protein interaction. We're all pretty molecular, but we have that nail-hammer problem.

I'm sure you'll do fine on your prelim, but please do keep me posted! NSF == NSF grad fellowship?

Nov. 9th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Evolution of drug resistance
yes, I have an NSF grad fellowship - you missed that little story in your absence ;-)

you do regulatory networks via expression profiles? So you module networks?

I'm in Aviv Regev's lab =)
so i feel like i'm plugged into your field - Eran Segal, Aviv, Nir Friedman, Dana Pe'er, Daphne Koller...

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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