Genomic Data May Soon Outpace YouTube and Twitter Data, Say CompGen Researchers

The growing field of genomics may produce more data in 10 years than huge services like YouTube and Twitter, according to a team of scientists. In a paper published in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, CompGen Fellow Zachary Stephens of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and others argue that as the ability to map genomes gets easier and faster, the amount and variety of data produced will exceed the ability to handle it. (more…)

CompGen Researchers: Different Species Share A “Genetic Toolkit” for Behavioral Traits

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The house mouse, stickleback fish and honey bee appear to have little in common, but at the genetic level these creatures respond in strikingly similar ways to danger, researchers report. When any of these animals confronts an intruder, the researchers found, many of the same genes and brain gene networks gear up or down in response.

This discovery, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that distantly related organisms share some key genetic mechanisms that help them respond to threats, said University of Illinois cell and developmental biology professor Lisa Stubbs, who led the research with animal biology professor Alison Bell and entomology professor and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson. Bell and Stubbs also are IGB faculty. (more…)

NCSA-CompGen Graduate Fellowships Available Spring 2015

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the CompGen initiative are sponsoring two Spring 2015 fellowships for graduate students working in biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, or biologically relevant computational science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (more…)

University of Illinois Collaborates with Mayo Clinic to Revolutionize Genomic Data Analysis

By Claudia Lutz, IGB

Today’s researchers, working with the advantages of new, sophisticated laboratory technology, have unleashed a river of valuable biomedical data—much more, in fact, than many of them have the tools to properly analyze, or the capacity to store. In 2012, the National Institutes of Health created the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative to enable efforts to harness the potential of this flood of information. As part of the first wave of BD2K funding, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Mayo Clinic have now received a $9.34M, 4-year award to create one of several new Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing. (more…)

Scientists Track Gene Activity When Honey Bees Do and Don’t Eat Honey

By Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, News Bureau

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Many beekeepers feed their honey bees sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup when times are lean inside the hive. This practice has come under scrutiny, however, in response to colony collapse disorder, the massive — and as yet not fully explained — annual die-off of honey bees in the U.S. and Europe. Some suspect that inadequate nutrition plays a role in honey bee declines. (more…)

CompGen Introduces New Fellows

CompGen Fellowship Program

The CompGen Fellowship program awards predoctoral fellowships, funded by the NSF and the University of Illinois, to promote interdisciplinary research in computational genomics. Fellows can be either computationally focused doctoral students with a biology co-advisor, or biologically focused doctoral students with a computational co-advisor. The fellowships were initially founded to support research directly relevant to the NSF-funded CompGen instrument, a supercomputer designed exclusively for genomic biology. The fellowship program now also supports fellows in any branch of interdisciplinary computational genomics. (more…)