MEMBER OF TEAM TO SEQUENCE MAIZE GENOME
Accolades abound: 2009 was a banner academic year for Professor Srinivas Aluru. First, he was appointed the inaugural recipient of the Mehl Professorship in Computer Engineering, then his research was featured in Science magazine, and most recently he was named a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his extraordinary contributions to the field of computational biology.
Research rewards: Aluru used his bioinformatics and systems biology background to help an ISU team sequence the maize genome, which was featured in Science magazine in November. “In the future, we can expect to routinely sequence transcriptomes and genomes of several maize lines and other crop species using billions of short reads from next generation sequencers. We are in the midst of a revolution in computational methods to facilitate this, and high performance computing will play a key role due to the enormity of data and complexity of analysis needs,” Aluru says.
Systems biology efforts: In addition to the maize genome project, Aluru is pursuing the first comprehensive research effort to develop parallel algorithms for systems biology, particularly for the inference of gene networks. “Understanding gene networks plays a fundamental role in virtually all biological process,” Aluru says. “The goal of the research is to find ways to collectively analyze all of the data, which spans to thousands of microarray experiments, to build robust whole genome networks.”