DeJesus and Ioerger win Best Paper Award

Michael A. DeJesus, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Texas A&M University, and Thomas R. Ioerger, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M, won the Best Paper Award at the fourth annual ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics (ACM BCB-2013).

ACM BCB 2013 was held in Washington D.C. from September 22-25, 2013. This conference is the flagship of ACM SIGBCB and offers a forum for premier interdisciplinary research linking computer science, mathematics, statistics, biology, bioinformatics, and biomedical informatics.

The prize-winning paper, "Improving Discrimination of Essential Genes by Modeling Local Insertion Frequencies in Transposon Mutagenesis Data," develops a statistical method for analyzing sequence data meant to identify essential genes (i.e., genes that are necessary for the survival of a bacterial organism). "This paper improves upon a previous Bayesian model, resulting in improved detection of these genes. Knowledge of essential genes is crucial for drug-discovery, as essential genes are candidate for drug treatments that are able to disrupt their function, preventing the growth of deadly pathogens," said Michael DeJesus.

The authors were presented with a certificate at the conference's banquet, and were invited to submit a longer version of the paper to be published in a special issue of theACM/IEEE Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

Michael received his bachelors degree in computer science in 2008 from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. He received a masters degree in computer science from Texas A&M University in 2012. His research focuses on using machine learning and statistical pattern recognition techniques to analyze sequence data.

Dr. Ioerger graduated with honors from The Pennsylvania State University in 1989, securing a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology. He received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the latter in 1996. His primary research interests are in the areas of bioinformatics and machine learning.