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Bioinformatics Tool Maker

ENG prof Temple Smith will be honored for his contribution to the field of bioinformatics.

Temple Smith, director of the BioMolecular Engineering Research Center and a College of Engineering professor of biomedical engineering, will receive the Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award from the International Society for Computational Biology for his contributions to the field of bioinformatics. The ISCB, a scholarly society dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems, will present the honor at its annual conference in Vienna, Austria, in July.

The Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award recognizes members of the computational biology community who have had their degrees for at least 12 to 15 years and have made major contributions to the field of computational biology through research, education, service, or a combination of the three.

Smith, trained as a nuclear physicist, codeveloped the Smith-Waterman sequence alignment algorithm, the standard tool underlying most DNA and protein sequence comparison. It remains one of most referenced papers in molecular biology.

After arriving at Boston University in 1991, Smith established the BioMolecular Engineering Research Center, which he directs. The center’s research has focused on problems in the reconstruction of evolution, and the structure of proteins. The latter was one of the early applications of the Markov Model, which is now used in voice recognition and the prediction of stock market trends. Smith is also a cofounder of Modular Genetics, a gene and protein engineering company based in Cambridge.