Bonnie Berger, Conference Co-chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States
Bonnie Berger, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Among the first algorithmic computer scientists to enter the field of computational molecular biology, making fundamental contributions to structural bioinformatics, viral shell assembly and mis-assembly, comparative genomics, protein networks, and theoretical models of protein folding. Played a major role in shaping these fields as a mentor to young researchers. Influenced many subareas of computational biology, largely via algorithmic insights; introduced probabilistic modeling to protein fold recognition; founded and developed conservation-based methods for comparative genomics; and solved a difficult theoretical problem central to the biophysics and protein folding communities. Showed how to globally align protein interaction networks using an eigenvalue formulation, and used these alignments to uncover functionally related proteins across model organisms. Recently invented “compressive genomics” and demonstrated that algorithms that compute directly on compressed data allow the analysis of genomic data sets to keep pace with data generation. Close collaborations with experimental biologists have guided her computational work and given it significant impact in the laboratory. Hundreds of biology labs rely on software she developed and made freely available. Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fellow, International Society for Computational Biology. Fellow, Association for Computing Machinery. Named one of Technology Review’s inaugural 100 Young Innovators of 1999. In 2011, selected to deliver the Margaret Pittman Director’s Lecture at the National Institutes of Health.
Her research interests include analysis of ancient genomes, primate comparative genomics and gene expression and the development and application of ontologies for biomedical applications. Her group uses computational approaches to gain insights into genome evolution in primates and have a special interest in the development of novel software for processing and analysis of high-throughput sequence data.
Janet received her PhD in bioinformatics from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape under the supervision of Professor Winston Hide working on an ontology for classifying gene expression data for which she won the L'Oreal women in science fellowship. She is author of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Together with Alfonso Valencia, Janet is the co-Editor-in-chief of the journal Bioinformatics, and also an editor of the journal Database. She is an active member of the Board of the International Society of Computational Biology and has held the positions of both Vice-president and secretary of the society.