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A New Frontier - Understanding Epigenetics Through Maths

When:

Wed 12 Jun 2013, 7:00pm–8:15pm

Where: Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boys High, 263 Featherston St, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free tickets: $0.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Royalsocietyofnz

2013 Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker

A New Frontier: understanding epigenetics through mathematics.

Scientists have now mapped the human genome - the next frontier is understanding human epigenomes; the ‘instructions’ which tell the DNA whether to make skin cells or blood cells or other body parts. Apart from a few exceptions, the DNA sequence of an organism is the same whatever cell is considered. So why are the blood, nerve, skin and muscle cells so different and what mechanism is employed to create this difference? The answer lies in epigenetics. If we compare the genome sequence to text, the epigenome is the punctuation and shows how the DNA should be read.

Advances in DNA sequencing in the last five years have allowed large amounts of DNA sequence data to be compiled. For every single reference human genome, there will be literally hundreds of reference epigenomes, and their analysis could occupy biologists, bioinformaticians and biostatisticians for some time to come.

About Professor Terry Speed:
Professor Terry Speed is a world leader in bioinformatics and is regarded as one of the strongest statisticians Australia has ever produced. His work has enabled scientists to assess which genes are being turned on in a cell and to what extent. This work has helped to identify areas of the human genome that contribute to cancer, genes that are vital for embryonic development and to pinpoint malaria proteins responsible for initiating infection in human red blood cells.

Professor Speed is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was awarded the NHMRC Achievement Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in 2007 and an Australian Fellowship in 2009. Most recently he was presented with the 2012 Thomson Reuter’s Citation Award and the 2012 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation.

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