Benjamin Langmead, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering, has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to receive its prestigious CAREER Award, which recognizes a high level of promise and excellence in early stage scholars.
The five-year grant will support Langmead's work developing improved computational and statistical methods for analyzing DNA sequencing data, providing faster, more accurate, and more interpretable results to scientists studying organisms with repetitive genomes. Earlier this year, he was selected as a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computational & Molecular Biology for his work in a related area.
"Many genomes, including the human genome, have been invaded by foreign bits of DNA that are able to copy and paste themselves throughout the genome," Langmead said. "When we sequence the genome, these repetitive elements are a major hindrance—they make our algorithms slower and less accurate. This award allows us to pursue new methods for reconstructing repetitive genomes from sequencing data quickly and accurately. We are very grateful to the National Science Foundation for this support."
Langmead's research focuses on ways of making high-throughput data easier to analyze and interpret. He uses approaches from computer science and statistics to create high-impact software tools widely used in genomics research and by other scientists.
Langmead earned his bachelor's degree in computer science from Columbia University in 2003 and his master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Maryland College Park in 2009 and 2012, respectively.