BME:5010:0001 Graduate Seminar

Friday, February 27 at 3:30 pm to 4:20 pm

BME bioinformatics faculty candidate, David Kristensen of the National Insitute of Health will present: "Identifying Viruses in (Meta-)Genomic Sequence Data: the Human Intestinal Tract, Bacterial Pathogens, and Global Interconnected Networks" In order to probe deeply into the mechanisms of microevolutionary processes such as phage-mediated transduction of virulence factors that transforms normal, healthy bacteria into pathogens, I develop tools and approaches that facilitate these types of comparative genomics studies of microbiota (bacteria, archaea, and the viruses that infect them). I will also discuss the identification of even highly degraded prophage regions within the several thousand completely sequenced bacterial and archaeal genomes currently available. As the cost of DNA sequencing continues to drop, and the breathtaking amount of viral and bacterial diversity continues to be sampled and deposited into the genomic databases, fully automated, computationally efficient processes and tools such as these are becoming increasingly useful to aid in analyses of these fascinating organisms. Indeed, in today’s post-genomics era, large-scale, systems-biology studies can provide deep insights not otherwise possible into the microbes that live hidden within our human bodies, and involving themselves in previously undiscovered ecological processes occurring around the globe. Dr. Kristensen is currently a Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow under the direction of Eugene Koonin, Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. His research specialty is computational biology / bioinformatics / genomics of microbial organisms and evolution of their proteins. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Computer Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Campus, a Ph.D. in Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics at Baylor College of Medicine, and completed his Postdoctoral Associate Training at Stowers Institute for Medical Research. His overall career objective is to use his scientific training at the interface between biology and computer science to improve the human condition via medically-relevant basic research and to educate future generations of scientists to do the same.