Adam Siepel has joined the faculty in the Department of Computational Biology and Biological Statistics. His research interests lie in the area where statistics, computer science, evolutionary biology, and genomics meet. Currently, his main focus is on developing computational methods for the identification of functional elements in eukaryotic (primarily mammalian) genomes, based on comparative sequence data. A major theme in his work is to model and analyze the evolution and the function of genomic sequences simultaneously, so that evolution sheds light on function, and function sheds light on evolution. He likes to tackle problems of practical importance in genomics, such as gene finding and conserved element identification, using methods from machine learning and computational statistics. As much as possible, he tries to stay grounded in biology by working with experimentalists to test predicted functional elements in the lab.
Siepel is currently scheduled to teach a seminar, "Topics in Computational Genomics. He graduated from Cornell University in 1994 and discovered computational biology at Los Alamos National Laboratory, while working as a graduate research assistant for the HIV Database project. In 1996, he left Los Alamos for the National Center for Genome Resources, a private not-for-profit in Santa Fe, where he started as a programmer and later became a group leader for software development. During this time he completed a Master's in CS at the University of New Mexico, and balanced his engineering and management work by day with theoretical work on genome-rearrangement problems by night. In early 2002, his interests turned to computational statistics, machine learning, molecular evolution, and comparative genomics. In 2005, he completed his Ph.D. and accepted a faculty position in Cornell's Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, beginning January 2006.
Siepel has authored more than 20 papers in the areas of molecular evolution and phylogeny, comparative genomics, genome rearrangements, bioinformatics software integration, and the detection of recombinant viruses. He was awarded a University of California Biotechnology Research and Education Program (UCBREP) fellowship, an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholarship, and a UC Santa Cruz Chancellor's fellowship, and he won the Best Student Paper award at the 2002 Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB) conference. He has served as a reviewer for PLoS Biology, Genome Research, Molecular Biology and Evolution, PLoS Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and other journals.