Brigitte Hofmeister Successfully Defends Dissertation

Brigitte Hofmeister successfully defended her dissertation, “Stability of trans-generational and intra-organismal epiallele inheritance in plants” on July 15, 2019.

Congratulations Dr. Hofmeister!

Save the Date! IOB Symosium 2020


Please alert the IOB office via EMAIL of any scheduling conflicts! Notification deadline is 3PM, TOMORROW, June 26th.




Please mark your calendar for the next IOB Symposium on Friday, March 20th, 2020! Speaker nominations can be forwarded to the IOB via email to


Location: UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel. 


Annie Kwon Successfully Defends Dissertation

Annie Kwon successfully defended her dissertation, “Tracing the evolution of the tyrosine kinome from sequence to function” on April 17, 2019.

Congratulations Dr. Kwon!

Lexiang Ji Received the Ying Xu Award

Dr. Lexiang Ji of Dr. Robert Schmitz’ lab earned this year’s Ying Xu Award for his paper, ” TET-mediated epimutagenesis of the Arabidopsisthaliana methylome “

Tao Sheng Successfully Defends Dissertation

Tao Sheng successfully defended his dissertaion, “Integration of transcriptomic and high frequency telemetry data via Machine learning methods,” on April 16, 2019.

Congratulations Dr. Sheng!

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…

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.



Ruan Zheng Successfully Defends Dissertation

Ruan Zheng has successfully defended his dissertation, “Functional annotation of oncogenic mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor kinase.”  During his tenure with IOB, Ruan completed an astonishing eleven publications!

Congratulations Dr. Zheng!

IOB Graduate Students publish in Scientific Reports

April 25, 2018:  IOB graduate students Liang-Chin Huang and Ruan Zheng in Dr. Kannan’s lab have recently published a paper in Scientific Reports. By integrating protein-related data from multiple sources, their work explored current knowledge gaps in the relationships connecting kinome cancer variants and post-translational modifications (PTM). Their paper proposed testable hypotheses about cancer variants altering key PTM sites and experimentally tested the hypotheses in EGFR and PKCβ. The article is available here.

IOB Graduate Students publish in the Journal of Biological Chemistry

IOB graduate students publish in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (February 12, 2018):
IOB graduate students Annie Kwon and Ruan Zheng in Dr. Kannan’s lab have recently published a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  Using a variety of computational and experimental methods, their work uncovered a novel regulatory mechanism that has uniquely evolved in Ephrin kinases. Their paper describes how this mechanism utilizes flexible protein segments flanking each side of the Ephrin kinase domain to cooperatively regulate Ephrin kinase activity. The article is available here:

The IOB Celebrates CJ Tsai’s recognition as an AAAS fellow!






Three UGA faculty members named AAAS Fellows


By Allyson Mann | Columns, UGA | December 4, 2017

Three University of Georgia faculty members have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed by their peers for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

These three faculty members are among 396 new AAAS Fellows who will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue—representing science and engineering, respectively—rosette pin on Feb. 17 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2018 AAAS annual meeting in Austin.

“Selection as an AAAS Fellow is a major milestone in a scientist’s career, and thus the University of Georgia is enormously pleased that three of our faculty have been selected for this honor,” said David Lee, UGA vice president for research. “This peer recognition is important to our faculty, and it also brings added distinction to the university.”

The 2017 AAAS Fellows, all members of UGA’s Plant Center, are:

• James H. Leebens-Mack, professor of plant biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is noted for distinguished contributions to plant evolution and genomics.

Leebens-Mack co-led a team of scientists to sequence the genome of Amborella trichopoda, a small, shrub-like tree found only on the main island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Amborella is the sole survivor of an ancient evolutionary lineage that traces back to the last common ancestor of all flowering plants more than 150 million years ago. Just last month, his team published the garden asparagus genome and identified the sex determination genes on the young Y-chromosome of male asparagus plants. Leebens-Mack is leading several other projects aimed at sequencing and comparing the genomes of species distributed across the land plant tree of life to elucidate the genetic basis of innovations throughout plant evolution, including resistance to plant diseases, adaptation to arid environments and storage of carbohydrates.

• Wayne Allen Parrott, professor of crop and soil sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is honored for distinguished contributions to the development and implementation of plant transformation technologies and to the discussions of the science and regulatory processes associated with genetically modified organisms.

For nearly 30 years, Parrott has conducted research on the discovery, evaluation and use of agriculturally important genes in crop plants, using both molecular markers and genetic engineering, especially in soybean and switchgrass. His emphasis is on developing the methodology for use and safety assessment of genetically modified crop plants, and he has published a guide for environmental risk assessment of GMOs. Parrott has traveled extensively in Latin America and other countries, advising legislators and regulators on the requisites for a functional regulatory system that ensures the safety of genetically modified products.

• Chung-Jui “C.J.” Tsai, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and the Winfred N. “Hank” Haynes Professor, is honored for pioneering research contributions in forestry biotechnology and genomics. Tsai holds a joint appointment in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the genetics department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Tsai, a plant biologist with a passion for trees, focuses on creating high-yielding trees for use in biofuel. She dissects the molecular mechanisms that affect tree fitness and biomass productivity, searching for ways to create better-growing trees by making them more resistant to stresses like extreme temperatures, disease and drought. Tsai pioneered the application of CRISPR genome editing technology to forest trees, and her team demonstrated unprecedented efficiency in generating transgenic null mutants. This translates into significant time savings for forest genetics research, bypassing the long generation cycle in traditional crosses.

She also has made significant contributions to genomic resources development for Populus, the model species in tree genomics research.


Please click HERE to see the full UGA Columns article.

Annie Kwon Selected for Franklin-Liverpool Fellowship

IOB student,  Annie Kwon, in Dr. Kannan’s Lab is selected for the Franklin-Liverpool Fellowship. Annie will obtain international exposure and training in Dr. Eyer’s lab at the University of Liverpool, UK, through this fellowship. Congrats Annie!!

Data Produced in Liu Lab Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Liang Liu and his colleagues produced a genome-scale dataset from representatives of all placental mammal orders to infer diversification timing relative to the Cretaceous–Paleogene (KPg) boundary. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that placental mammals underwent a continuous radiation across the KPg boundary. The results have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), which is available at

Frank Fan Successfully Defends Dissertation

Frank Fan successfully defended his dissertation “Statistical Considerations of Expression Quantitative Loci (eQTL) Mapping with Next Generation Sequencing Data”.

Congratulations Dr. Fan!!

Xi Gu Successfully Defends Dissertation

Xi Gu successfully defended her dissertation “Dual Subcellular Localization and Non-Photosynthetic Functions of Phylloquinone in Parasitic and Non-parasitic Plants”.

Congratulations Dr. Gu!!

New Study from Bergman Lab

Dr. Casey Bergman, IOB faculty member, has published a paper in G3: Genes Genomics Genetics.

“McClintock: An Integrated Pipeline for Detecting Transposable Element Insertions in Whole Genome Shotgun Sequencing Data” was published in G3: Genes Genomics Genetics in June of this year. The paper can be found here.

Grant Funded

Dr. Robert Woods, adjunct faculty with the Institute of Bioinformatics, was recently awarded an NIH U01 grant titled “GlyProbity: tools to curate glycan structure pre and post deposition in the PDB”.

Congratulations Dr. Woods!!

Dr. Jessica Kissinger awarded Distinguished Research Professor

Credit: Peter Frey, University of Georgia



Global expert


Editor’s note: This video profile is part of a series about UGA faculty who were named Distinguished Research Professors in 2017.

Jessica Kissinger, professor of genetics, is a globally recognized molecular biologist and world expert in bio-computational research whose contributions to the field of eukaryotic pathogen research have helped transform how pathogen research is conducted internationally.

An expert on the evolution of parasite genomes, she conducted the first systematic survey of gene transfer in the Apicomplexa, upending prevailing thought. Her subsequent series of papers on the Apicomplexa also opened a new window into genome evolution and the biology of several other important disease-causing organisms.

Her most recognized and sustained contribution to science has been the co-creation, maintenance and enhancement of integrated omics tools to facilitate research on eukaryotic pathogens.

The databases and program resources developed under Kissinger’s leadership have evolved into a global team continuously supported by NIH for 15 years and designated an NIH Bioinformatics Resource Center. At UGA, she established the pre-eminent bioinformatics group in the area of parasitic diseases.



Yi Yan Successfully Defends Dissertation

Yi Yan successfully defended his dissertation “Multi-omic and Multi-scale Data Integration for the Characterization of Malaria Infection in Non-Human Primates”.

Congratulations Dr. Yan!!

IOB Faculty Contribute to Breakthrough

Dr. Arthur Edison and Dr. Natarajan Kannan, as well as members of their labs, have contributed to a project that has resulted in a breakthrough in the treatment of leukemia. While working with Dr. Takahiro Ito, the researchers have identified a new drug target for the two most common types of myeloid leukemia. Their results have been published in Nature.

For more information, go here.

To read the publication, go here.

Dr. Robert Schmitz Receives Appointment

The Georgia Board of Regents recently approved the appointment of Dr. Robert Schmitz as a GRA – Lars Ljungdahl Distinguished Investigator.


2017 IOB Fall Symposium | REGISTER NOW!

Registration in NOW OPEN for the 2017 UGA Institute of Bioinformatics Fall Symposium: Parsing the Microbiome.

For more information please visit the IOB Fall Symposium page listed in the menu above.


NSF REU Sites Beginning Next Week

8 REU sites begin at UGA next week, including topics in Genomics and Computational Biology, Nanotechnology, and Chromatin Complex.

iWall Installed in Science Library

A new iWall system has been installed in the Science Library, located in Boyd Graduate Studies.

The iWall is an interactive hardware/software system that allows for innovative and collaborative educational experiences. The iWall is a joint venture, and is available for collaboratorium classes and interdisciplinary projects.

Dr. Jessica Kissinger Named Distinguished Research Professor

Dr. Jessica Kissinger, Director of IOB and Professor in the Department of Genetics, has been named a Distinguished Research Professor.

Dr. Kissinger’s work in the field of eukaryotic pathogen research has transformed how pathogen research is conducted internationally.

For more information on Dr. Kissinger’s research, please visit the UGA 38th Annual Research Awards website, found here.

IOB Faculty Named Associate Editor

Dr. Alexander Bucksch has been named Associate Editor for Plant Methods.

Plant Methods is an open access, peer-reviewed journal for the plant research community that encompasses all aspects of technological innovation in the plant sciences.