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Category: News

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

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…

JOB POSTING | Assistant or Associate Professor: Joint appointment in the Institute of Bioinformatics and Marine Sciences

                     Franklin College of Arts and Sciences 

                   Department of Marine Sciences

Institute of Bioinformatics


Assistant or Associate Professor: Joint appointment in the Institute of Bioinformatics and the Department of Marine Sciences

We seek to recruit a computational and experimental marine microbiome researcher to complement research strengths at UGA in bioinformatics and marine sciences. We aim to hire an individual with a strong record of innovation and ability to develop and apply new computational tools (simulations, flux analyses, data integration and visualization, among others) and microbial ecology approaches to marine microbiome research. Possible areas of research include ocean productivity, global carbon and nutrient cycling, diseases of aquatic organisms, or intersections with public health.

The successful candidate will be appointed at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor depending on credentials and accomplishments. This is an interdisciplinary position, with the appointment being split between the Department of Marine Sciences and the Institute of Bioinformatics. The position includes a competitive salary, sufficient laboratory space for computational and experimental research, and a generous start-up package.

Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent degree in a computational, marine or biological science area and have at least 1 year of postdoctoral training as well as a record that provides evidence of scholarship, synergistic activities, and the potential to obtain extramural funding. To be considered for the Associate Professor level, applicants must show evidence of the ability to attract sufficient extramural funding to support a sustainable research program and provide convincing evidence of an emerging national reputation in their field. Teaching responsibilities will be in undergraduate and graduate programs and include both bioinformatics and marine science microbiome components.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, contact information for three references, curriculum vitae, research statement (no more than 3 pages), and teaching philosophy at Review of applications will begin on November 13 and continue until the position is filled. Selected applicants will be required to submit a background investigation demonstrating eligibility for employment with the University of Georgia. This position is available August 2019. Contact the search committee chair Dr. Mary Ann Moran ( with questions.

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, its many units, and the University of Georgia are committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and students and sustaining a work and learning environment that is inclusive. Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The University of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, genetic information, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or protected veteran status. Persons needing accommodations or assistance with the accessibility of materials related to this search are encouraged to contact Central HR ( Please do not contact the department or search committee with such requests.

The state of Georgia is well-known for its quality of life both outdoor and urban ( The University of Georgia, Athens ( is a land grant/sea grant institution located 75 miles northeast of Atlanta.