Computing on biological data in plants: From genome to phenome (and beyond) by Carolyn Lawrence-Dill

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Date/Time:Friday, 07 Sep 2018 from 4:10 pm to 5:10 pm
Location:1414 Molecular Bio
Contact:Carolyn Lawrence-Dill
Channel:Agronomy Department
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In my research group, we use data science approaches to solve plant biology and crop improvement problems by investigating the structure and function of plant genomes as well as the interrelationships among genomes, environments, and phenotypes.

Our work has focused on mapping genomes and gene elements, predicting gene function, inventing new ways to link genes to phenotypic descriptions and images, developing ways to compute on phenotypic descriptions, organizing broad datasets for community access and use, and developing computational tools that enable others to do all of these sorts of analyses directly (

In this seminar I will describe:
o why my research group focuses on methods and tools for data analysis,
o how our efforts enable others to pursue their own research questions in novel ways, and
o what the future holds for computing on phenotype and phenotypic descriptions

Research projects pursued in my group require not only a background in biology and computer science, but also an understanding of human/computer interaction, natural language processing, and engineering principles. As such, we work with psychologists, sociologists, linguists, engineers and others. I will describe some challenges and opportunities that working across disciplines can bring, and I will detail how one such collaboration resulted in the surprising identification of an organized effort to sway public opinion on 'GMOs.'