Campus news in brief

Suresh becomes only university president to be elected to all national academies

University president Subra Suresh was inducted into the Institute of Medicine on Oct. 19 in Washington, D.C. President Suresh is now the only university president to be elected to all three national academies: the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering, as well as one of only 16 living Americans with the honor.

President Suresh has also been elected to the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indian National Academy of Engineering, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering, and Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

The Institute of Medicine is recognizing Suresh for his research into the cell mechanics surrounding Malaria, blood diseases, and certain types of cancer.

According to a university press release, “The national academies are honorific, private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world, helping to shape policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering and medicine.”

Carl Kingsford receives $1.5 million grant

Carl Kingsford, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Lane Center for Computational Biology, will receive a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as part of an effort to develop more efficient methods for searching the giant bodies of DNA and RNA data now available worldwide.

Kingsford received the grant as one of 14 recipients of the foundation’s Moore Investigators in Data-Driven Discovery Awards.

“Science is generating data at unprecedented volume, variety and velocity, but many areas of science don’t reward the kind of expertise needed to capitalize on this explosion of information,” said Chris Mentzel, program director of the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, in a university press release. “We are proud to recognize these outstanding scientists, and we hope these awards will help cultivate a new type of researcher and accelerate the use of interdisciplinary, data-driven science in academia.”

Currently, Kingsford directs a group of computational biology researchers that research protein interactions, gene expression, chromatic structure and viral evolution. Earlier this year, Kingsford collaborated with a researcher at the University of Maryland to create Sailfish — a new method for quickly estimating gene activity from RNA-sequencing data.

“To me, Carl’s work represents an outstanding example of the best approach to computational biology: careful framing of a biological problem followed by rigorous development and application of appropriate computer science methods,” said Robert F. Murphy, director of the Lane Center for Computational Biology, in a university press release. “As the volume and complexity of biomedical data increases exponentially, his scalable approaches and commitment to open source software will be critical to enabling new and clinically important discoveries.”