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Career Profile: Brian Haas

Career Profile: Brian Haas

Brian Haas vividly remembers cloning genes, running sequencing gels behind a radiation shield, and taking painstaking steps to manually read a DNA base ladder up to a few hundred nucleotides in length. It was nearly two decades ago that Brian completed these steps as he studied DNA repair enzymes, and it is extraordinary how so much has changed. Brian earned a master’s degree in molecular biology and biochemistry at the State University of Albany, N.Y. (his hometown), and after discovering his passion for deciphering the genetic blueprint of life, decided to enter the then-burgeoning field of bioinformatics. He has since been pursuing his dream of doing bioinformatics and genome research, along the way earning a separate master’s degree in computer science at Johns Hopkins University.

Brian has been working in the genomics field since 1999, first with The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md.. He joined the Broad Institute in 2007 and is currently a senior computational biologist within the Klarman Cell Observatory. The Broad is an ideal environment for him to focus on developing and supporting open source bioinformatics software tools and using computational techniques to explore aspects of molecular biology, particularly in the study of transcriptomes.

Brian and his wife just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They and their children enjoy living in central Massachusetts, where they are within visiting distance of their extended family in Albany. Although Brian’s commute to work is approximately two hours each way, he appreciates the commuter rail and not having to drive all the way into Cambridge except for a handful of times each year. Flexibility to work from home on occasion has also been a great blessing.

When he is not working, Brian focuses on his many hobbies, such as gardening, lifting weights, or trying to play the guitar. By the look of his gardens and his guitar-playing skills, he says it’s very clear that he dedicates most of his time to doing science, but he aims to make progress in these other areas as well.