Computing That Serves

Bioinformatics Scale Challenges in Biodefense


Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 11:00am


Tom Slezak, Associate Program Leader for Informatics and Assays for the ChemBio National Security Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories

Tom Slezak will present his research entitled Bioinformatics Scale Challenges in Biodefense. He will present at 11:00 am in 1170 TMCB. Below is a abstract of his research.

 Pathogen diagnosis for biodefense is an important challenge at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL).  Microarrays are being designed at LLNL to detect up to 390,000 known virulence and antibiotic resistant microorganisms.  This Virulence Chip is the first of a series of highly-scaled reagents that are needed to deal with next-generation threats. The LLNL team has been called on for computational help on smallpox, SARS, monkeypox, avian influenza, and other pathogens. In addition to continuing work on human and agricultural pathogens, the team is currently focusing on signatures of mechanisms of virulence, antibiotic-resistance, and evidence of genetic engineering.


Tom Slezak has been involved with bioinformatics at LLNL (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) for over 28 years after receiving BS and MS degrees in Computer Science. He was involved with the Human Genome Program from the very beginning, and led the informatics efforts at LLNL and then the DOE's Joint Genome Institute from 1987-2000. In 2000 he began to build a pathogen bioinformatics team at LLNL pioneering a whole-genome analysis approach to DNA signature design. His team developed signature targets for multiple human pathogens that were used at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games under the BASIS program and later adapted for use nationwide in the CDC's BioWatch program.