Basser Seminar Series

Analyzing Phylogenetic Treespace

Speaker: Katherine St John
City University of New York

Time: Wednesday 1 May, 4:00-5:00pm
Refreshments will be available from 3:30pm

Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

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Abstract

Evolutionary histories, or phylogenies, form an integral part of much work in biology. In addition to the intrinsic interest in the interrelationships between species, phylogenies are used for drug design, multiple sequence alignment, and even as evidence in a recent criminal trial. A simple representation for a phylogeny is a rooted, binary tree, where the leaves represent the species, and internal nodes represent their hypothetical ancestors. This talk will focus on some of the elegant questions that arise from assembling, summarizing, visualizing, and searching the space of phylogenetic trees, as well as delve into the computational issues of modeling non-treelike evolution.

Speaker's biography

Katherine St John is a full professor of mathematics and computer science at Lehman College, City University of New York. She holds appointments to the doctoral faculty of computer science and of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. She earned her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles and did postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas, Austin. Her research focuses on developing efficient algorithms and models for evolutionary biology.