Neil Thomas

Statistical inference of recombination-inducing genic features

Genetic inheritance is the mechanism for natural selection, and understanding it can give us insight into, for example, the heredity of disease immunity, and the genetic differences between males and females. Meiosis is the main process of genetic inheritance, shuffling the genes of parents to create the genes of offspring. During the process of meiosis, chromosomal DNA can split and trade nucleotides with each other while recombining. This recombination is a substantial additional source of genetic mutation, and has been shown to occur preferentially in certain hotspot locations on DNA. Using statistical techniques to analyze genomic data sets of Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly), we will be working on finding these hotspots and inferring the nucleotide sequences that signal their presence.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF/Rose Hills fellowship has not only allowed me to participate full time in laboratory research a crucial step in the development of every fledgling scientist but also to explore the field of biostatistics. I hope that this summer will only be the first step; I plan to continue on to a PhD in biostatistics or a related bioscience field.
  • Major: Engineering Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry (minor)
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Yun S. Song, EECS, Statistics, Integrative Biology