David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Computer Science
Department of Computer Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
My research combines mathematics, computer science, probability, and statistics, in order to develop algorithms with improved accuracy for large-scale and complex estimation problems in phylogenomics and metagenomics. My major interests include multiple sequence alignment and phylogeny estimation (both gene trees and species trees) and metagenomic analysis, but I also work in Historical Linguistics. My current work aims to develop methods for ultra-large datasets (anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000 sequences), including datasets that are highly fragmentary and present other real world challenges. We use real data and perform massive simulations to evaluate the performance of methods that we develop, and also collaborate closely with biologists and linguists in data analysis. Because my research is so multi-disciplinary, I am a member of four graduate programs at UT (and can be the primary advisor of students in these programs): Computer Science, Mathematics, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.
My current research is funded by the National Science Foundation (DEB 0733029 and DBI-1062335). I also recently benefited from support of the John P. Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and early support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University.
I am one of the organizers of a programme on Mathematical, Statistical and Computational Aspects of the new science of Metagenomics, to be held from 24 March to 17 April, 2014, at the Sir Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, UK.
We will hold a Phylogenomics Symposium and Software School on June 19 and 20, 2014, co-located with the Evolution 2014 meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the last in a series of such symposia and software schools supported by the NSF DEB 0733029 grant; for the most recent symposium and workshop, please see the 2013 Symposium and Workshop on New Methods for Phylogenomics and Metagenomics that was held at UT-Austin on Feb 16 and 17, 2013.
I am co-organizing a workshop on multiple sequence alignment as part of IPAM, the NSF Math Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA, to be held January 12-16, 2015.
The Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at UT-Austin is holding a Summer School for Big Data in Biology; we will teach a course on advanced methods in phylogenomic analysis, including multiple sequence alignment, gene tree estimation, species tree and phylogenetic network estimation from multiple (potentially conflicting) gene trees, and metagenomics.
"Plus de détails, plus de détails, disait-il à son fils, il n'y a d'originalité et de vérité que dans les détails..." -- Stendhal, Lucien Leuwen (a quote much loved by my stepfather, Martin J. Klein, and an essential guide for all scholarship).
Click here for Google Scholar Citations (i10-index 100 and h-index 46).
The CIPRES Project is finally over, but the CIPRES Portal is still available through the TeraGrid (see also the CIPRES Science Gateway story). Here is an abridged version of the CIPRES final report.
Siavash Mirarab, my PhD student, has been awarded a fellowship by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.