Elizabeth Purdom

Research Expertise and Interest

computational biology, bioinformatics, statistics, data analysis, sequencing, cancer genomics

Research Description

My research interests lie in developing statistical methods for high-dimensional data arising in the field of biology and genetics. I focus on questions of robust estimation and hypothesis testing for high-throughput biological experiments, in particular gene expression microarrays and next generation sequencing. I am also interested in integration of heterogeneous sources of data, where the data can be multiple experimental platforms or, more generally, arbitrary forms of preexisting biological knowledge such as networks or trees. Statistically, I am interested in questions of high-dimensional inference and multivariate analysis -- problems that arise naturally in trying to create a unified understanding of this type of data.

In the News

Neuroscientists roll out first comprehensive atlas of brain cells

When you clicked to read this story, a band of cells across the top of your brain sent signals down your spine and out to your hand to tell the muscles in your index finger to press down with just the right amount of pressure to activate your mouse or track pad. A slew of new studies now shows that the area of the brain responsible for initiating this action — the primary motor cortex, which controls movement — has as many as 116 different types of cells that work together to make this happen.

Genomic gymnastics help sorghum plant survive drought

Scorching temperatures and parched earth are no match for the sorghum plant — this cereal crop, native to Africa and Australia, will remain green and productive, even under conditions that would render other plants brown, brittle and barren. A new study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the first detailed look at how the plant exercises exquisite control over its genome — switching some genes on and some genes off at the first sign of water scarcity, and again when water returns — to survive when its surroundings turn harsh and arid.
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