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News / 03.11.08

Study of molecular networks earns prize for core member

By Leah Eisenstadt, Communications
Computational biologist Aviv Regev awarded for early-career discoveries
Aviv Regev

Aviv Regev, a core faculty member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at MIT, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Overton Prize of the International Society of Computational Biology (ISCB). Established in 2001, the prize honors the memory of G. Christian Overton, who was an ISCB board member and a major contributor to the field. The award acknowledges computational biologists who, in less than 12 years after their completion of graduate school, have fostered significant advancements in computational biology through research, education, service, or a combination of the three.

Regev is being honored for her work to understand how complex molecular networks function and evolve in the face of genetic and environmental changes. Since developing a new modeling language for molecular networks early in her career, Regev has made major discoveries on the architecture, function and evolution of genomes and systems. She has been one of the pioneers in the development of methods to automatically reconstruct regulatory networks from genomics data, a highly challenging problem in computational biology. Recently, her research helped define unexpected aspects of gene duplication in fungi. Regev and her colleagues also made a major and surprising discovery of previously unknown physiological states of the malaria parasite from the blood of infected patients, a finding that may lead to a paradigm shift in this field.

Aviv Regev will accept the prize at the 16th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology in Toronto. She will also deliver a keynote lecture at the July 2008 meeting, which is sponsored by ISCB.

Regev was also recently awarded a 2008 fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which provides a $50,000 grant over two years. Another Broad researcher, associate member Manolis Kellis, is also among this year’s winners. The 2008 Sloan fellows are recognized for their work at the frontiers of physics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics and neuroscience.

Paper(s) cited:

Daily JP et al. (2007) Distinct physiological states of Plasmodium falciparum in malaria-infected patients. Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature06311.

Wapinski et al. (2007) Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi. Nature DOI:10.1038/nature06107.