An Indiana University Bloomington researcher has been awarded $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health to advance research on gene-regulation inference.
Yijie Wang, an assistant professor at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, has received a five-year, $1.9 million R35 Maximizing Investigators Research Award for Early-Stage Investigators.
The Maximum Investigators’ Research Award is affiliated with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. It supports basic research for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The goal is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility to improve scientific productivity and facilitate medical breakthroughs.
Wang’s research centers on developing advanced computational methods to understand gene regulation at the single-cell level. Gene expression regulation is central to many biological processes such as understanding how cells talk to each other, what controls gene activity and how diseases develop.
“Thanks to the NIH MIRA award,” Wang said, “my lab can investigate methods to revolutionize the inference of gene regulation.”
Current advanced biotechnologies allow researchers to quantitively measure several aspects of the gene regulation process.
“However,” Wang said, “these measurements are indirect evidence. We need to utilize those measurements to reverse engineer gene regulation,” overcome obstacles and better understand the process.
By using advanced machine-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques, Wang’s lab works to develop “novel computational frameworks to understand transcriptional regulation, distal regulatory elements, and post-transcriptional regulation at the single-cell level.”
That will lead to “faster discoveries and a deeper understanding of biological systems and diseases.”