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Michel Dumontier
Dumontier is pursuing his Ph.D. (Biochemistry) at the University of Toronto. His research activities are directed towards exploiting differences that exist for organisms living in the most extreme environments, and applying knowledge to protein folding and protein engineering. His approach includes a combination of proteomics, bioinformatics, and statistical data analysis. Dumontier enjoys consulting, traveling, and dominating multiplayer online games.

How did Dumontier discover bioinformatics? “The focus of my initial Ph.D. work was to investigate the mechanism by which proteins from the thermophilic organism M. jannaschii were not only able to withstand high temperatures but also were optimized to work at those temperatures. At that time, I used conventional molecular biology and biochemistry laboratory techniques to experiment with such proteins as well as use bioinformatics tools to find sequence homologues and examine 3D structures in the hopes of finding a significant pattern. However, with 100 completely sequenced genomes (including human and mouse) and over 200 ongoing sequencing projects from an amazing variety of organisms (including thermophiles, halophiles, acidophiles, etc), I could now try to identify other forms of adaptation based only on sequence information and extended to structure computation via homology modelling. Clearly, this required some more rigorous tools for computation... and that is how I discovered bioinformatics.”


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