Computing That Serves

Visualizing Biological Data


Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 11:00am


Miriah Meyer

USTAR Assistant Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah and a faculty member in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute


Christophe Giraud-Carrier

Visualization tools are essential for deriving meaning from the avalanche of data we are generating today. To facilitate an understanding of the complex relationships embedded in this data, visualization research leverages the power of the human perceptual and cognitive systems, encoding meaning through images and enabling exploration through human-computer interactions. In my research I design visualization systems that support exploratory, complex data analysis tasks by scientists who are analyzing large amounts of heterogeneous data. These systems allow users to validate their computational models, to understand their underlying data in detail, and to develop new hypotheses and insights. My research process includes five distinct stages, from targeting a specific group of domain experts and their scientific goals through validating the efficacy of the visualization system.  In this talk I'll describe a user-centered, methodological approach to designing and developing visualization tools and present several successful visualization projects in the areas of genomics and systems biology. I will also discuss generalizations that arise from working on focused, visualization projects as well as long term implications for the field.


Miriah is a USTAR assistant professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah and a faculty member in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute. She obtained her bachelors degree in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, and earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2011 Miriah was named to the TR35, a list compiled by MIT Technology Review recognizing 35 innovators under 35. She is a recipient of a 2009 and 2010 NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellow award, as well as a 2006 AAAS Mass Media Fellowship that landed her a stint as a science writer for the Chicago Tribune. Miriah is on the organizing committee for the inaugural IEEE Symposium on Biological Data Visualization.