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Sean Eddy to Deliver Public Talk at Janelia Farm Research Campus

Summary

Eddy will speak about "The Language of DNA" on May 22 in an event open to the public.

Sean Eddy, a Lab Head at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, will deliver a public lecture titled “The Language of DNA” at Janelia in Ashburn, VA.

Eddy will speak on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 7 PM. The lecture, part of an ongoing series called “Dialogues of Discovery at Janelia Farm,” is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission. Directions for obtaining tickets are available on the Janelia Farm web site at www.janelia.org/events. Seating is limited to 250 people. Doors will open at 6:30 PM.

Over the last decade, DNA sequencing technology has improved suddenly and radically. The first human genome sequence took decades of work and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Today, a single automated machine can sequence several human genomes a week for a few thousand dollars each.

Soon, as costs continue to drop, human genome sequencing may become a routine standard of care in our doctors' offices. DNA sequencing is already changing how doctors diagnose cancer, genetic diseases, and infectious disease; and beyond its clinical applications, large-scale DNA sequencing is also rapidly transforming our fundamental understanding of how biology works, and how biology evolved. Eddy will discuss what DNA sequence information means to us, and how are scientists "reading" it?

In his research at Janelia, Eddy is interested in deciphering the evolutionary history of life by comparison of genomic DNA sequences. His expertise is in the development of computational algorithms and software tools for biological sequence analysis.

For Eddy, huge numbers are all in a day's work. He designs mathematical tools to probe modern genomes, unravelling the structures, functions, and histories of specific genes. In particular, Eddy works to identify genes that make functional RNAs instead of proteins.

To identify noncoding RNA (ncRNA) genes, for example, Eddy's lab has developed statistical models describing the pattern of mutation expected in these genes versus the different mutation patterns commonly found in protein genes.

Eddy is the author of several computational tools for sequence analysis, including the HMMER and Infernal software suites. He is a coauthor of the Pfam database of protein domains, and a coauthor of the book Biological Sequence Analysis: Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Eddy received a bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology; a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder; and was a postdoctoral fellow at NeXagen Pharmaceuticals and at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Eddy was a faculty member in the Department of Genetics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for 11 years before moving to Janelia Farm in 2006 as one of the Janelia’s first scientists. He serves as an advisor to several foundations and U.S. science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences, often on matters of large-scale computation and data analysis in biology.

Recent speakers in the “Dialogues of Discovery” series have included Jennifer Tour Chayes, Managing Director at Microsoft Research; Eric Betzig, a Lab Head at Janelia; Sir Paul Nurse, President of The Royal Society; Karel Svoboda, a Lab Head at Janelia; Roger Perlmutter, former Executive Vice President for Research and Development at Amgen, Inc.; Leslie Vosshall, HHMI Investigator at The Rockefeller University; and Sean B. Carroll, HHMI Vice President for Science Education.

Scientist Profile

Janelia Group Leader
Janelia Farm Research Campus
Computational Biology, Genetics

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Jim Keeley
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Robert Gutnikoff
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