Computing That Serves

Analyzing Evolutionary Trees


Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 11:00am


Katherine St. John, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, City University of New York

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, and visualizing phylogenetic trees.


Katherine St. John is an associate professor of computer science and mathematics at the City University of New York. She earned her Ph.D. from UCLA, did postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas. Her research focuses on random structures, algorithms, and computational biology and is generously funded by the National Science Foundation.