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Speaker

Iddo Friedberg
Iddo Friedberg recently completed his Ph.D. in the field of Structural Bioinformatics at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem at the Margalit lab. Friedberg is active in the biopython project, and is the author of the PeCoP online analysis tool, hosted by Bioinformatics.Org. Currently, Friedberg is postdoc’ing at the Godzik lab at The Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California.

Friedberg discusses his entry into bionformatics: “Sometime in the beginning of graduate school I got interested in protein structure. At the time, William R. Pearson (of FastA fame) gave a talk on distant evolutionary relationships among proteins. The ‘talk’ was given as part of an online computational biology course, on a MOO (remember those?) called BioMOO. The transcript of the talk is still available.

“As you can see from my questions, I was pretty much the newbie. However, the subject of distant evolutionary relationships among proteins fascinated me. Reason: protein structure is determined by its sequence. If completely different sequences provide us with similar structures, where do we find those elusive structural determinants? At that point, I decided to do my doctorate looking at structurally similar, sequence dissimilar proteins.

“Bioinformatics is constantly producing new subfields, which in many cases stem from novel high throughput technology, and associated computational tools. Examples: high throughput sequencing, brought us genomics, followed by proteomics. High troughput structure determination brings us structural genomics. Pretty soon, we will be hearing a lot more about glycomics: protein-carbohydrate interactions. To fully realize the potential of each subfield, people from different disciplines, with different backgrounds, vocabularies, and aptitudes have to work together. I find this interaction fascinating, on many levels.”

 


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