Jordan Encourages Students To Explore Computational Biology

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Jordan Encourages Students To Explore Computational Biology
Photo: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL photographer
Professor Michael Jordan speaks on his work with the statistical inference of protein structure and folding.

Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor Michael Jordan of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley wrapped up the 2010-2011 Dertouzos Lecturer Series Thursday evening with a look at his work with “Statistical Inference of Protein Structure and Function.”

Jordan, a former MIT faculty member, delved into how the study of the structure and function of proteins provides challenges and opportunities for computational and statistical research, encouraging the young computer science students in attendance to pursue further work in this burgeoning field.

The field combines “chemistry, biology, statistics and computer science - all of the things that are fun in life,” said Jordan, adding that the field “will change the world.”

Jordan discussed his work with the identification of active sites in enzymes, the modeling of protein backbone configurations, the prediction of molecular function based on phylogeny and joint inference of alignment and phylogeny.

Abby Abazorius, CSAIL