Bioinformatics and Data Science
in Life & Health Science

  • Professor Dan Kowal has been awarded the Rice Covid-19 research funds. He is building a predictive model or the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Houston by borrowing information from locations that are similar to Houston and further along the disease incidence curve. The model is expected to improve the accuracy of real-time predictions and to inform key policy decisions.  
  • Professors Dennis Cox, Katherine Ensor, Rudy Guerra, Marek Kimmel, Daniel Kowal, Meng Li, Erzsebet Merenyi, Michael Schweinberger, David Scott, and Marina Vannucci are at the helm of creating modern Data Science, with groundbreaking progress in exploratory data analysis and nonparametric methodology as well as advanced functional visualization and new emphasis on computational efficiency and convex optimization, allowing the formulation of complex models to extract knowledge using interdisciplinary research in deep learning and data mining.  
  • Professors Lauren Stadler and Katherine Ensor work with the health department in Houston to develop a tool that utilizes machine learning to track COVID-19 infection dynamics in water treatment plants. This allows the city to identify increases in infection in a community before hospital or testing data.  
  • Professors K Jane Grande-Allen, Oleg Igoshin, and Rob Raphael lead research on Computational and Theoretical Bioengineering & Biophysics, using approaches from molecular biophysics, biomechanics, transport and kinetics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, nonlinear dynamics and control theory, and data science to identify general principles underlying the emergence of system-level properties across multiple length and time scales.  
  • Professors Gang Bao, Antonios Mikos, and Rob Raphael, are in the foundational area of Cellular, Molecular and Genome Engineering & Synthetic Biology, developing new approaches to enable our researchers to study natural biological processes and engineer diagnostic and therapeutic cells, convert low-value feedstocks into high-value metabolites and develop new drugs to fight microbial infection, cancer, and other diseases.  
  • Professors Rebekah Drezek and Rebecca Richards-Kortum lead research in Biomedical Imaging & Instrumentation, developing tools and contrast agents for optical, ultrasound, and MRI. Imaging efforts include the development of compact, high-performance optical spectroscopy and imaging tools for point-of-care early detection of cancer and development of innovative hyperspectral and miniaturized optical systems and 3D printed optics for broad-based applications in biological and clinical research.  
  • Professors Sibani Lisa Biswal, Walter Chapman, Xue Gao, and Kyriacos Zygourakis lead research on Biomolecular Engineering, developing novel systems-based approach that will change the design principles used to develop effective drugs, tissues with desirable structure, materials with novel properties, and other bio-based, environmentally friendly, and sustainable technologies.  
  • Professor Laura Segatori won the award of Rice Covid-19 research grant, and currently works on engineering cell lines for the rapid development of clinically translatable neutralizing antibodies for infection control. This genetic “landing pad” will include a fluorescent reporter and a drug-resistance marker that will allow for evaluation of expressed antibodies and antibody fragments that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, rendering it unable to spread and reproduce.  
  • Professors Lydia Beaudrot, Amy Dunham, Scott Egan, Michael Kohn, Tom Miller, Volker Rudolf, and Joff Silberg lead research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, bridging multiple levels of biological organization, ranging from genes to ecosystems, to address key processes that underlie patterns of life on earth.  
  • Professors George Bennett, Matthew Bennett, James Chappell, Natasha Kirienko, Yousif Shamoo, Yizhi Tao, and Aryeh Warmflash lead research in Synthetic and Systems Biology, bringing together diverse fields including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computational modeling, and engineering to elucidate the fundamental principles governing gene regulatory networks.  
  • Professors Janet Braam, Daniel Carson, Kathleen Matthews, George Phillips, and Rosa Uribe lead research in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, addressing key questions using a variety of approaches and techniques for the fundamental interest in biochemical mechanisms of molecular and cellular function.  
  • Professors Anatoly Kolomeisky, Peter Rossky, Gustavo Scuseria, and Peter Wolynes lead research in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, combining concepts from classical, quantum, and statistical mechanics with high performance computational methods to study molecular/biomolecular properties and reactions as well as develop novel tools and methodology.  
  • Professors Anatoly Kolomeisky, José Onuchic, and Peter Wolynes lead research in Biophysics, studying the physics of life’s processes all the way from the molecular level to organism. Rice hosts the Center for Theoretical Biophysics, an NSF Physics Frontier Center, examining areas such as the physics of the genome and the physics of cellular processes.  
  • Professor Kirsten Ostherr received NIH’s Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine. Her research will explore how the future of computers in health care was represented by people who developed experimental technologies from the 1960s to the ’80s - What was the imagined relationship between computers and human beings — including doctors, nurses and patients — when that future was mostly speculative?  
  • Professor Caroline Levander is the Vice President for Global and Digital Strategy at Rice University. In this capacity, she is responsible for expanding the university's global impact through the development of new degrees, academic programs, partnerships, and research collaborations that increase the university’s global impact and innovate Rice's educational enterprise with new technologies.  
  • Professors Ashutosh Sabharwal, Ashok Veeraraghavan, and Akane Sano make up the Scalable Health Labs, an effort that focuses on quantitatively understanding the relationship between behavior, biology, and health.  
  • Professors Luay Nakhleh, Todd Treangen, Lydia Kavraki, and Vicky Yao study omics approaches for the identification of biomarkers and drug development. A recent project discovered an early warning sign of rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups.  
  • Professors Gang Bao, Antonios Mikos, and Jeffrey Tabor are in the foundational area of Cellular, Molecular and Genome Engineering & Synthetic Biology, developing new approaches to enable our researchers to study natural biological processes and engineer diagnostic and therapeutic cells, convert low-value feedstocks into high-value metabolites and develop new drugs to fight microbial infection, cancer, and other diseases.