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The Taub Faculty of Computer Science Events and Talks

Genetics media
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Tuesday, 01.05.2018, 14:30
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Room 337 Taub Bld.
In the last decade, the human population has produced zettabytes (10^21) of digital data. This creates immense opportunities and challenges for biology research. In this talk, I will present two research directions on the intersection between genetics and data, which we dub "genetic media". First, I will speak about crowd sourcing massive genetic data using social media. We collected over 80 million profiles from the largest social-media website driven by genealogy and constructed a single family tree of 13 million people. Using this data, we analyzed the genetic architecture of longevity. I will also speak about our on-going efforts to crowd source genomes and social media phenotypes to this massive pedigree. In the second part of my talk, I will present using synthetic DNA as a medium for long-term data storage. Previous studies in leading journal have presented this concept but failed to show reliable data retrieval. Here, we report a storage strategy, called DNA Fountain, that is highly robust and approaches the Shannon limit. The success of our strategy relies on careful adaptation of coding theory to the domain-specific constraints of DNA molecules. To demonstrate its power, we stored a full computer operating system, movie, and other files in DNA oligos and perfectly retrieved the information. We explored the limit of our architecture in terms of bytes per molecules and obtained a perfect retrieval from a density of 215Petabyte/gram of DNA, orders of magnitudes higher than previous techniques. Short Bio: ========== Dr. Yaniv Erlich is the Chief Science Officer of and an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computational Biology at Columbia University (leave of absence). Prior to these positions, he was a Fellow at the Whitehead Institute, MIT, where he ran his own lab. Dr. Erlich received his bachelor's degree from Tel-Aviv University, Israel (2006) and a PhD from the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2010). Dr. Erlich's research interests are computational human genetics. Dr. Erlich is the recipient of DARPA's Young Faculty Award (2017), the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award (2013), Harold M. Weintraub award (2010), the IEEE/ACM-CS HPC award (2008), and he was selected as one of 2010 Tomorrow's PIs team of Genome Technology. ==================================== Refreshments will be served from 14:15 Lecture starts at 14:30