Plenary 3.4

9/1 8:00 - 10:30, Memorial Auditorium

Imaging Bioinformatics

Gene Myers

Group Leader, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Arguably the most significant contribution of the human genome project is that we can now build a recombinant construct of every gene and every promotor in C. elegans (worm), D. melanogaster (fly), M. musculus (mouse), and H. sapiens (human). These include fluorescent proteins and other markers that can be induced at controlled time points via a change in temperature, light, or chemistry. Combined with tremendous advances in light and electron microscopy in recent years, I believe we are now poised to visualize the meso-scale of the cell, and the development small organs (e.g. a fly's brain) and organisms (e.g. the worm) at the resolution of individual cells. These advances will require new imaging and data-mining methods for what I call “imaging bioinformatics”.

Toward this end, my group is working on a number of imaging projects along these lines. These include (a) studies of development and gene expression in worms and flies, (b) the biophysics of mitosis, and (c) the construction of a detailed reconstruction of a fly's brain. We describe preliminary results and extrapolate on what we hope to be able to infer from such data.

Gene MyersDr. Eugene W. Myers is a Group Leader at the new Janelia Farms Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was one of the first computer scientist to enter the field of computational molecular biology in the early 80's, and was a key developer of BLAST. In 1995 he and Jim Weber proposed the whole genome shotgun sequencing of the human genome, and from 1998-2001 at Celera his team produced reconstructions of the Drosophila, Human, Mouse, and Anopheles genomes. In 2003 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. His current interest is developing algorithms and software for the automatic interpretation of images produced by light and electron microscopy of stained samples with a particular emphasis on building 3D and 4D “atlases” of brains, developing organisms, and cellular processes.