News and Special Events

New Publication by Chetanya Pandya

Congratulations to Chetanya Pandya for his work with Karen Allen and Brandon Xia. Their new paper was published on February 27th in Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics. Read it here: Structure-guided approach for detecting large domain inserts in protein sequences as illustrated using the haloacid dehalogenase superfamily  Great job!




New Publication by Yevgeniy Gindin

Yevgeniy Gindin’s work in Paul Meltzer’s lab in the Center for Cancer Research at the NIH has been published on molecular systems biology. The new paper was published in the March 28th issue and you can read it here: A chromatin structure‐based model accurately predicts DNA replication timing in human cells,  Great work, Dr. Gindin!



BU Bioinformatics Admissions and Recruitment Reception

October 22, 2014  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 an MS Program, focusing on bioinformatics for translational medicine.

We will have faculty, 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 students to travel to Boston to learn about our Program.

Register Now

New Publication by Vinay Kartha

Congratulations to Vinay Kartha for his work in Rick Myers’ lab at the BUSM. The new paper is published in the February 27th issue of PLOS Genetics. MicroRNAs Located in the Hox Gene Clusters Are Implicated in Huntington’s Disease Pathogenesis.  Great work!

improvscience is coming to Bioinformatics

Instructors Mia Anderson and Raquell Holmes from improvscience will be conducting a Professional Presentations workshop for students in BU Bioinformatics on March 21 and 24. Students will take part in exercises to improve their audience interaction and help develop their unique style of performing a scientific talk. Dr. Holmes was recently interviewed in Nature. The article, “Communication: Spontaneous Scientists” is featured in the NatureJobs section and you can read it here:

Hunting for Viruses in the French Amazon

by Nacho Caballero



Pasteur Institute, Cayenne, French Guiana
Pasteur Institute, Cayenne, French Guiana

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.

Congratulations to Evan Maxwell

Evan received a 2014 NIH Graduate Student Research Award (NGSRA) for his poster in the Bioinformatics/Structural Biology category, Informing Model Organism Selection for Human Disease Research through Evolutionary Profiling. The award, which comes with a $1000 travel prize, was presented at the 10th Annual NIH Graduate Student Research Symposium. Evan is part of the BU-NIH Graduate Partnerships Program, working for Dr. Andreas Baxevanis in his group at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Communicating Science Workshop

Instructors from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University will be conducting Improvisation for Scientists and Distilling Your Message workshops for students in the BU Bioinformatics Program on January 31.  Participants will take part in exercises and breakout sessions aimed at helping them connect with different audiences. The Alda Center, along with our 2013 retreat presenter, Dr. Raquell Holmes from improvscience, are the focus of an article in the latest edition of Nature.  The article, “Communication: Spontaneous Scientists,” is featured in the NatureJobs section and you can read it here.


Bioinformatics Program Holiday Party

The Bioinformatics Program Holiday Party will be held at Moksa in Central Square on December 12 at 5:00 PM.

Daniel Gusenleitner – Best Poster Winner

Dan 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!