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Category: News

Listing of news from the Institute of Bioinformatics at University of Georgia

IOB Retreat 2019- Dawg Team Frenchie takes the win!

IOB Director, Dr. Jessica Kissinger and the IOB Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Cohort

Team Frenchie takes Gold at this year’s IOB Retreat– Please congratulate them on excellent teamwork and sportsmanship during the IOB Team Building Sessions.

Zheng Ruan earns Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award

Zheng Ruan earned his Ph.D. in bioinformatics in 2018, delving deeply into how signaling proteins work in both normal and disease states. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combined bioinformatics, biochemistry and cell biology, he uncovered the mechanisms by which cancer mutations alter cell signaling functions. Ruan pursued a unique research strategy by generating hypotheses from computational structural modeling and designing detailed experiments to test these hypotheses. His approach allowed him to answer fundamental questions in cancer genomics and structural bioinformatics. Ruan’s work has generated tremendous interest in the signaling field and will contribute to the understanding and treatment of human cancer. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Van Andel Institute in Michigan, he is studying large macromolecular ion channel proteins using single particle cryo-EM techniques, a rapidly evolving area that has the potential for major breakthroughs.

Dr. Alexander Bucksch receives NSF Early Career Award!

Please congratulate Dr. Bucksch on this amazing accomplishment!

Dr. Alexander Bucksch receives the NSF Early Career Award:

The phenotypic spectrum: Quantifying new patterns of architecture variation in crop roots


Plant roots are remarkably diverse in size and shape. It is not fully understood how the diversity in root architecture contributes to crop yields or plant biomass in part because roots are buried underground and difficult to study. This research takes a quantitative approach to analyze the wide diversity of root architectures. Bean roots grown under experimental conditions will be imaged and the resulting data will be used to create new mathematical and computational tools to discern causes of root variability. Combined with genomic information, the analytical tools will identify genetic elements underlying root shapes in response to environmental and genetic variation. The research will point to new opportunities for breeding targets in crops such as bean and extended to maize. The research also couples with an education program that integrates computation with plant research, thus addressing the critical national need for a computationally trained plant science workforce. The novel tools will be publicly available and deployed using national cyberinfrastructure: further the technologies will be integrated into two courses that enable basic science and computational biology within an experiential learning environment. A new student award is implemented through the Plant Center and the Georgia Informatics Institute to highlight advances attained by working at the computational and plant science interface. Together, the integration of science and education sets forth a path for fast dissemination of results into breeding programs.

Improving Public Health



Around the world, researchers are racing to stop the spread of deadly diseases such as malaria. As they generate and record data about a disease, UGA’s Jessica Kissinger and her colleagues work to make that information findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable by the global research community for free. How does building a database fight disease? Data help researchers construct and test their ideas about how to create treatments or map out ways to halt the spread of disease. In a nutshell, her work helps save time and hastens the discovery process for the next possible solution or cure.

“These are tools by biologists for biologists … being a member of a community, having your finger on the pulse of what’s going on, allows us to keep the tools relevant and useful.”


GII Symposium | Advancing Informatics in Government and Industry |NOV 30th @ the GA Center

Too much data … Too little information? Advancing Informatics in Government and Industry, Nov. 30th, 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM

The Georgia Informatics Institutes will be hosting the 2nd Advancing Informatics in Government and Industry event on November 30th, 2018.  Organized by a committee representing each of our member units, events include panels, speakers and student posters on challenges…