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Dr. Allison Walker, Harvard University
Thursday, December 19, 2019, 11:30am - 12:30pm

Alison Walker“Predicting Function from Sequence”

In my graduate and postdoctoral research, I applied various statistical methods to predict functional information about biological molecules ranging from the large macromolecular machine, the ribosome, to small molecule natural products. Using Statistical Coupling Analysis (SCA), I predicted networks of coevolving bases in the large subunit rRNA. The functional importance of bases in these networks was confirmed using a continuous culture assay with deep sequencing. I developed a machine learning-based bioinformatics tool that predicts natural product bioactivity using the sequence of the natural product’s biosynthetic gene cluster. For this initial study I focused on different antimicrobial activities. The resulting machine learning classifiers can predict natural product activity with accuracies as high as 79%. I also determined that some biosynthetic genes are highly associated with certain activities, linking molecular features to bioactivity.



Walker Diagram



~ Coffee/tea will be served prior to lecture~

Location CCB, Room 1203
Hosted by Dr. Wilma Olson