Electrical engineering professor wins Best Paper Award at premier conference

Photo of Dr. Byung-Jun YoonDr. Byung-Jun Yoon, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, received the Best Paper Award from Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference 2011 (APBC 2011).

Yoon and his graduate student, Mohammad Sahraeian, won the Best Paper Award for their paper, "PicXAA-R: Efficient structural alignment of multiple RNA sequences using a greedy approach."

In their paper, they proposed PicXAA-R, a novel structural RNA alignment algorithm that can efficiently find the optimal alignment of multiple RNAs with the maximum expected accuracy. PicXAA-R is an extension of their previous algorithm called PicXAA for multiple protein sequence alignment. Based on several benchmarks, they have shown that PicXAA-R is one of the fastest RNA structural alignment algorithms that consistently yields accurate alignment results on various datasets.

Their paper has also been selected for publication in a special issue of BMC Bioinformatics, a leading journal in the area of bioinformatics and computational biology.

Yoon joined the Biomedical Imaging and Genomic Signal Processing Group in 2008. He received his B.S.E. from the Seoul National University in 1998, his M.S. from Caltech in 2002 and his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 2007. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Yoon was a post-doc at Caltech from 2006-2007, a Microsoft Research Intern and a SecureSoft Inc./Junghwa Systems Inc. software developer from 1998-2001.

Yoon's research interests include genomic signal processing, bioinformatics and computational systems biology, especially in developing statistical models and algorithms that can be used in RNA sequence analysis and the identification of noncoding RNA (ncRNA) genes.

APBC is the premier bioinformatics conference in the Asia Pacific region. More information about the conference can be found at http://sysbio.kribb.re.kr/APBC2011/.