January 2022 QCB Newsletter




Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology

As this second year of QCB as Department begins, we couldn't be more excited to announce a conference with fantastic speakers to celebrate 40 years of Computational Biology at USC, the extraordinary contributions of University Professor Emeritus Michael Waterman to the field of computational biology and the establishment of our new Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology at our symposium (as well as a very happy 80th birthday)!


Our keynote and invited speakers include leaders of the field of computational biology as well as the QCB Department's newest faculty members. This newsletter reveals the list of confirmed speakers: https://www.qcb-dornsife.usc.edu/qcb40


Registration for our in-person Computational Biology Symposium on May 19-21, 2022, on the USC campus is now open. The number of participants is restricted. You can register here and take advantage of the Early Bird Registration: https://dtspayment.usc.edu/OnlinePayment/qbio/registration.cfm


I am looking forward to celebrating with you another milestone of Computational Biology at USC.


Remo Rohs, Ph.D.

QCB Department Chair


QBIO Undergraduate Students

QBIO alumna Kate Cunningham wrote an article for The Seattle Times about her experience with remote learning in the COVID-19 pandemic. Kate is now an MD/PhD student at Columbia University. (See article here).


QCB Faculty and CBB Graduate Students

Dr. Adam MacLean and PhD candidate Megan Rommelfanger discovered an important role for cell-to-cell communication in controlling the way that blood stem cells develop. (See link to paper here) (See Dornsife News here).


In a new paper, PhD candidate Xiaojun Wu from the MacLean Lab led the computational analyses of temporal gene expression patterns in zebrafish development. This work was funded by an independent junior research grant awarded to two PhD students: Xiaojun and the first author of the study, David Tatarakis at UCI. (See link to paper here).


Dr. Jazlyn Mooney has joined QCB as Gabilan Assistant Professor on January 1, 2022. Jazlyn completed her PhD in Human Genetics at UCLA and a postdoc at Stanford University. Her research combines computational approaches with population genetics theory to better understand genetic variation, medical genetics, and human evolution. Click here to read more about Dr. Mooney's research


The new virtual screening technology paper from the Katritch lab, published in Nature last month, was featured in Nature News&Views, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery Highlights, and SingularityHub Breakthroughs of 2021.


Dr. Stacey Finley was appointed theInaugural Holder of the Nichole A. and Thuan Q. Pham Professorship in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering. Dr. Finley is currently on sabbatical at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, through July 2022.Dr. Steve Kay will be receiving a Pioneer Award from the Circadian Rhythms community in May 2022 The SRBR Pioneer Program recognizes and honors a special group of chronobiologists and sleep scientists who helped make SRBR what it is today. They are individuals who provided leadership in the field of biological rhythms and sleep, made significant contributions to the professional society and official journal, or engaged in research training and mentoring for many members of the community. (See link to site here).


Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Quantitative and Computational Biology, Nobel Laureate Dr. Arieh Warshel recently published his autobiography about his upbringing in an Israeli Kibbutz, his time in the Israeli Defense Forces during war, and his path to science and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013. The book was highlighted in the Dornsife News. (See story here).


QCB Book Club

Featuring Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos by Steven Strogatz, this book club will convene once a month to discuss established paradigms and analytic techniques in mathematical modeling, and showcase recent development in methods and applications in addressing key biological questions. First meeting, Thursday February 17, 2022 11 a.m.-12 p.m., RRI 421 and zoom. All are welcome!


Departmental Seminars

We are excited to return to in-person seminars: Dr. Matteo Pellegrini, Professor of Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology, UCLA "Timescales of Epigenetic Aging."

February 3, 2022, 2:00-3:00 p.m., RRI 101

Dr. Ali Mortazavi, Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, UCI "Integrative analysis of long-read and short-read transcriptomes in ENCODE." February 10, 2022, 2:00-3:00 p.m., RRI 101 Dr. Amy Williams, Associate Professor, Department of Computational Biology, Cornell University "New methods to classify pedigree relationships and reconstruct parent DNA." February 17, 2022, 2:00-3:00 p.m., RRI 101 Dr. C. Titus Brown, Associate Professor, Genome Center, UC Davis "Using FracMinHash and min-set-cov to understand the DNA content of microbiomes." February 24, 2022, 2:00-3:00 p.m., RRI 101


Postdoctoral Positions Open

The Edge Lab is accepting postdoctoral applications in evolutionary genetics (https://edgepopgen.github.io/edgelab/vacancies) Postdoctoral positions in 3D genome biology are open in the Fudenberg Research Group (https://fudenberg.team) The Katritch Lab is accepting postdoctoral applications in structural bioinformatics and drug discovery (https://katritch.usc.edu/)


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