Medicine, agriculture, and other biology-related industries will increasingly depend on the information encoded in genomic DNA. The technological achievements in the past 20 years have made sequencing a genome a relatively simple task. Decoding this information, however, has proved to be much more difficult, and is one of the great challenges for this century. Advancing our understanding of how genes are structured and regulated will eventually lead to novel therapeutics for combating cancer and other diseases, to cheaper and more nutritious food, to less wasteful materials and energy sources, and to a greater understanding of ourselves. Genome analysis is 21st Century rocket science.
We are interested in structure and function in genomic sequence. Specifically, our research seeks to build better models of eukaryotic genes by investigating the individual components that define gene structure. Our research employs a combination of computational modeling, comparative genomics, and experimental molecular biology. Computational models of functional elements such as promoters, enhancers, exons, introns, etc. summarize what we know about these sequence fatures. In practice, computational models are often inaccuarate, and this indicates we have much to learn about genes and genomes. Comparative genomics can help shed light on the important parts of genomes, but ultimately we must be able to derive function from sequence alone. Here, experimental molecular biology is particulary important, because algorithms must be tested.
Mar 23, 2011: A Nature news article about genome assembly, with an interview of Ian Korf.
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