Ewan Birney on Big Data in Biology

Speaker: Ewan Birney , EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute

Date: Monday, April 14, 2014

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Refreshments: 3:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: Star Conference Room 32D-463, 32 Vassar St, Cambridge MA 02139

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Host: Manolis Kellis, Broad Institute and CSAIL, MIT

Contact: Manolis Kellis, 617-253-2419, manoli@csail.mit.edu

Relevant URL: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/~birney/

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Reminders to: talks@broad.mit.edu, seminars@csail.mit.edu

Reminder Subject: TALK: Ewan Birney on Big Data in Biology

Molecular biology is now a leading example of a data intensive science, with both pragmatic and theoretical challenges being raised by data volumes and dimensionality of the data. These changes are present in both large-scale consortia science and small-scale science, and across now a broad range of applications – from human health, through to agriculture and ecosystems. All of molecular life science is feeling this effect. This shift in modality is creating a wealth of new opportunities and has some accompanying challenges. In particular there is a continued need for a robust information infrastructure for molecular biology. This ranges from the physical aspects of dealing with data volume through to the more statistically challenging aspects of interpreting it. A particular problem is finding causal relationships in the high level of correlative data. Drawing on recent experience, Dr. Birney will explore both the challenges of data volume and the challenges of interpretation, and will end with the invention of using DNA as a long-time horizon digital archiving material.

Dr Ewan Birney is Associate Director of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). He is one of the founders of the Ensembl genome browser, and has played a key role in many large-scale genomics projects, including the Human Genome Project, the ENCODE project, and annotating the human, mouse, and chicken genomes. He shares strategic oversight of EBI services, including hosting DNA sequence, animals and plant genomes, 3Dmolecular structures, gene expression, Protein mass spectroscopy, small molecules, drug/protein target interactions, and pathways. The EBI also leads the European Elixir project which aims to provide a stable bioinformatics infrastructure at the national, transnational and international contexts. Dr. Birney did his PhD with Richard Durbin at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He joined EMBL-EBI as a Team Leader in 2000, Senior Scientist in 2003, and was appointed Associate Director in 2012. He contributed to Pfam, co-founded the Ensembl and Reactome databases, and helped create numerous widely used tools, including Genewise, Exonerate, Enredo, Pecan, Velvet, and CRAM. He has received numerous awards, including The 2003 Francis Crick Lecture to the Royal Society, the 2005 Chris Overton Prize from ICSB, and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics.

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See other events that are part of the Big Data Lecture Series 2013/2014.

Created by Manolis Kellis Email at Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM.