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ISCB Annual Awards & Competitions

Xiaole Shirley Liu, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 2020 Recipient of ISCB Innovator Award

2020 ISCB Innovator Award
Xiaole Shirley Liu, PhD

2020 ISCB Innovator Award: Xiaole Shirley Liu, PhD


Xiaole Shirley Liu, PhD, Professor, Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-director, Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The year 2016 marked the launch of the ISCB Innovator Award, which is given to a leading scientist who is within two decades of receiving the PhD degree, has consistently made outstanding contributions to the field, and continues to forge new directions. Xiaole Shirley Liu is the 2020 winner of the ISCB Innovator Award.

Xiaole Shirley Liu has been an innovative and prolific computational cancer biologist. Her research focuses on algorithm development and integrative modeling of high throughput data to understand the specificity and function of regulator genes in tumor development, progression, drug response and resistance. With many contributions to the field, she was a natural choice for this year’s award.

In computational biology, her laboratory developed widely used algorithms and tools for transcription factor motif finding, ChIP-chip/seq, chromatin accessibility profiles, CRISPR screen analyses, and tumor immune characterization. Many of her algorithms helped the community adopt new genomics technologies.

In transcription and epigenetic gene regulation, Dr. Liu has been a pioneer in using chromatin dynamics to predict trans-factors and cis-elements involved in biological processes and diseases. As a member of the mod/ENCODE consortium she helped establish best practices in ChIP-chip/seq. She and colleagues generated the first high throughput nucleosome map in the human genome, and identified the chromatin signature of embryonic pluripotency. Her work significantly advanced the understanding of the roles of many genomic and proteomic elements in cancer.

In translational cancer research, Dr. Liu contributed to the discovery of drug response biomarkers, drug resistance mechanisms, and effective combination therapies. Through analyses of large-scale compound and genetic screens as well as tumor profiling cohorts, her group revealed the functions of steroid hormone therapies, epigenetic inhibitors, gamma secretase inhibitor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and immune checkpoint inhibitors in different cancers.
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ISCB will present the Accomplishments by a Senior Scientist Award, Overton Prize, Innovator Award and Outstanding Contributions to ISCB Award, at ISMB 2020 (www.iscb.org/ismb2020), which will take place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 12-16, 2020 where, in addition, Peng, Liu, and Salzberg will present keynote addresses during the conference.

Full bibliographical articles profiling the award recipients will be available in the ISMB 2020 focus issue of the ISCB newsletter later this year, as well as the ISCB Society Pages in OUP Bioinformatics, and F1000 Research ISCB Community Journal.

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