Genomes are about potential. Each genome encodes a distinct set of possibilities, as what lays inside may or may not be expressed. Our work is a hodgepodge of different interests centered on DNA.
Our research revolves around comparative genomics, with an emphasis on finding the elements that distinguish obligate pathogens from their free-living relatives. I am particularly interested by key protists that could help us better understand the evolution of pathogenicity and by microbiomes and their associated diseases.
Dealing with the amount of data generated with current high-throughput sequencing technologies can be a challenge. I learned Perl programming a few years ago to avoid being submerged by the data avalanche and, to my surprise, feel in love with programming. Now I seek to develop new computational tools to help others based on my expertise in genomics.
Ever found a gene with no known or putative function? Same here. Inferring metabolic profiles from highly derived species can be a challenge. We are looking at new ways to predict functions computationally. We are also looking at validating these predictions by leveraging the combined strengths of our biophysics faculty here at Illinois Tech and at the Advanced Photon Source capabilities from the Argonne National Laboratory.