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The SIB recognizes the next generation of bioinformaticians
Date:6/19/2009

The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics today announced the winners of the 2009 SIB Best Graduate Paper and the SIB Young Bioinformatician Award at the 7th annual [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference.

**2009 SIB Young Bioinformatician Award **

The winner of the 2009 SIB Young Bioinformatician Award is SIB Member Lukas Burger, 29, who has been working for the past four years with the SIB in the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Group led by Prof. Erik van Nimwegen at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. In his recently obtained PhD thesis, he studied how to predict physical interactions between protein residues entirely based on sequence data, using multiple sequence alignments of similar proteins.

Dr. Burger has developed a new Bayesian network methodology for the characterization of protein sequences that is extremely powerful and allows the prediction of intra- and interprotein interactions with greatly improved accuracy. Dr. Burger explains the importance of such a methodology, "As the number of sequenced genomes has grown exponentially over the last years, multiple alignments of many protein families now contain more than 100 homologous sequences(and some even several thousand), which makes it possible to investigate the evolutionary constraints that act on particular residues in much detail. Such analyses reveal that protein residues are constrained in very complicated ways, with interacting residues forming chains or networks that even connect residues that are distant in the 3-dimensional structure of the protein.

The introduced methodology provides a way of describing these interdependencies in a statistically sound and efficient way and thus provides a generalization of currently used models for the characterization of protein sequences. A key feature of the method is that it is able to disentangle direct interactions from indirect interactions that are mediated via other residues. As such the
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Contact: Janice Blondeau
janice.blondeau@isb-sib.ch
41-216-924-054
Swiss Institute of Bioinoformatics
Source:Eurekalert

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