News and Special Events
I have spent the last month working in a research lab in the Pasteur Institute in Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, and also its largest city (population 60,000). Although it is technically part of France (the local currency is the euro), getting around here feels nothing like driving through the French countryside. Cayenne is corralled by the Atlantic Ocean in the North, and dense tropical rainforest in the South. There are only two national highways, one going westward to Suriname, and the other running the opposite direction towards Brazil. Both roads eventually come to an abrupt stop at the national border. To keep going you must cross the swells of a mile-wide river, typically aboard a traditional canoe. It’s high on my list of things to do before I leave.
The Pasteur Institute employs around 80 scientists that work on public health risks (mainly dengue and malaria prevention), as well as basic virology and parasitology research. The lab where I am doing my four-month internship is interested in determining the viral diversity of the bats and rodents living in environments that have been disturbed due to human activities. Several cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome have been reported in French Guiana during the past few years, and although rodents are thought to be the reservoir for these viruses, they have not been systematically studied. My lab recently started capturing these rodents, taking blood and tissue samples, and sequencing them using high-throughput technology. My job is to analyze all of the metagenomic data they generated and identify what viruses are present in each sample. Fun stuff!
I might be a romantic, but I have a soft spot for the idea of grabbing my laptop, parachuting into a remote region, collaborating with the local scientists, and contributing to a cutting-edge research question that has important public health implications. A few years from now, if I’m ever down because one of my papers got rejected, or my R01 grant didn’t get renewed, I’ll remember that in the third year of my PhD, the Bioinformatics Program at Boston University thought it was a good idea to send me to the Amazon to look for deadly viruses in jungle rats. I’ll remember this, and I’ll be okay.
Nacho received a BU Bioinformatics Graduate Research Fellowship, which supports students who work on collaborative projects in the labs of participating faculty members for periods of 3-6 months.
Daniel Gusenleitner received the 1st place award in the Biomedical Student Poster Competition at the Superfund Research Program (SRP) Annual Meeting in October for his poster, Rodent-based Toxicogenomic Models of Hepatocarcinogenicity. The 2013 SRP Meeting was held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from October 16-17. Congratulations Dan!
If you missed Evan Snitkin (PhD ’09) on PBS’ Frontline, you can watch Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria here.
Farren Isaacs’ (PhD, ’04) paper in Science entitled “Genomically recoded organisms expand biological functions,” has been gaining worldwide attention this week. You can read the paper here. Dr. Isaacs is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale.
October 23, 2013 from 4:30 – 7 pm
LSEB Lobby – Life Science and Engineering Building - 24 Cummington Mall
An opportunity for prospective students to learn about the MS and PhD Programs in Bioinformatics, as well as our new MS Program, focusing on bioinformatics for translational medicine.
We will have faculty, current students, and staff available for informal discussions about our research, PhD fellowships, MS scholarships, curricula and the admissions process.
Who Should Attend?
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that draws from biology, systems engineering , chemistry, genetics/genomics , physics, mathematics/statistics and computer science, among others.
Students with a strong background in either the biological or computational sciences are encouraged to attend!
BU Bioinformatics is committed to supporting highly qualified women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, and other individuals who are underrepresented in STEM. Several travel grants are available for outstanding senior undergraduates to travel to Boston to learn about our Program. For more information contact Caroline Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-358-0752.
no registration required
Sara Garamszegi received the first Student Service Award at the 2013 Bioinformatics Program Retreat. The award was presented by Prof. Tullius for Sara’s outstanding contribution and service to the Bioinformatics Program.
Sara entered the Program in the fall of 2009 as an IGERT Fellow, and in 2011 was awarded a three year fellowship by the NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Since 2009, Sara has overhauled the popular Applications in Bioinformatics course, which introduces graduate and upper-level undergraduate students to bioinformatics theory. She has traveled to national recruiting conferences as a BU representative and she developed a fellowship writing workshop for first and second year students. Sara also mentored a high school student through the Education Cooperative (TEC) Unpaid Summer Internship Program and regularly participates in Graduate Women in Science and Engineer (GWISE) events.
Sara’s research focus is on the bioinformatics analysis of host-virus interactions. She has presented her work at the Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference, the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, and recently received a travel scholarship from the Swiss Foundation for Excellence and Talent in Biomedical Research to present her work at the European Conference on Computational Biology.
Sara’s dedication to the Program and enthusiasm for bioinformatics make her the ideal candidate to receive the very first Student Service Award.
The Bioinformatics Program is holding the annual retreat from October 4-5 at the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole.
Harold Gomez, Teresa Wang and Prof. Ulla Hansen represented BU Bioinformatics in San Antonio at the Annual SACNAS National Conference.
New Publication: Chris Nogiec had his paper published in the August 5th issue of PLOS ONE. Read the paper, To Supplement or Not to Supplement: A Metabolic Network Framework for Human Nutritional Supplements
Daniel Gusenleitner received the Award for Best Poster Presentation at the 13th Annual International Workshop on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (IBSB 2013), for his poster, Genomic Signatures of Carcinogenicity. Congratulations Dan!