Alyssa Fortier has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The prestigious award recognizes not only her academic accomplishments, but also her leadership as president of MathCats. There she set up a tutoring program that connects UA students with refugee children. She was also named Outstanding Senior for the department of Mathematics.
After graduation, Alyssa will pursue her Ph.D. in Biology at Stanford University. There she’ll be among one of the greatest groups of population genetics researchers in the world.
Also, see the nice writeup in the MCB newsletter.
We’ve posted an updated version of our bioRxiv preprint on the ability of genome-wide association studies to spur subsequent research into newly associated genes. Most importantly, we found that the effect of GWAS has declined dramatically, suggesting that researchers are following-up on GWAS much less than they used to. Although our work does not show why recent GWAS have much less impact than earlier GWAS, we hope it motivates efforts to encourage GWAS follow-up.
Our paper with the Knudsen group on filtering mouse contamination from genome sequences of xenograft tumors is now in press at Bioinformatics. Congratulations to Brian!
Our department head, Joyce Schroeder, had the wonderful idea to engage some of UA’s fine arts students to represent our department’s research. I particularly like Elena Makansi‘s representation of our work!
Our recent work with Erik Knudsen on variant calling in tumors is now on bioRxiv. The paper introduces a new approach for analyzing genetic variants called from next-gen sequencing of tumors. A key challenge in such sequencing is spurious variants calls, particularly when sequencing tumors that have been xenografted into mice. We introduce and characterize a simple BLAST-based algorithm for removing spurious calls caused by mouse contamination or paralogs in the genome. This algorithm is as effective as much more computationally or bioinformatically intense approaches. Our testing also revealed biases that may be introduced by commonly used variant callers, an important caution for the community. Congratulations Brian!