Brown CS News

Sorin Istrail Has Been Named An International Society For Computational Biology Fellow


Click the links that follow for more news about Sorin Istrail and other recent accomplishments by our faculty.

Professor Sorin Istrail of Brown CS has just received the high honor of being named a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). "We were pleased to receive many excellent nominations this year," writes Bonnie Berger, ISCB's Fellows Committee Chair, and following a vote by all existing Fellows, Sorin and 12 other nominees were elected.

The International Society for Computational Biology Fellows program was created to honor members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding contributions to the fields of computational biology and bioinformatics. Since 2010, ISCB has sought Fellows nominations from its members, with eligibility restrictions based on a strong history of membership and selection criteria focused most heavily on the significance of scientific contributions to their field.

Sorin is the Julie Nguyen Brown Professor of Computational and Mathematical Sciences and Professor of Computer Science and the former Director of the Center for Computational Molecular Biology at Brown University. Before joining Brown, he was the Senior Director and then Head of Informatics Research at Celera Genomics, where his group played a central role in the construction of the sequence of the human genome: they co-authored a 2001 Science paper ("The Sequence of the Human Genome") that's one of the most widely cited (over 17,500 citations to date) scientific papers. His group at Celera also built a powerful suite of genome-wide algorithms that was used for the comparison of all human genome assemblies to date. In 2002, they collaborated with the company ClearForrest to win the ACM KDD Cup (the top international data mining/machine learning competition) with their response to a challenge regarding the automatic annotation of a section of the Drosophila genome.

In 2003, Sorin joined the ranks of Applied Biosystems Science Fellows, one of just six Science Fellows in a company of 800 scientists. Before Celera, he founded and led the Computational Biology Project at Sandia National Laboratories from 1992 to 2000. In 2000, he obtained the negative solution (computational intractability) of a 50-year-old unresolved problem in statistical mechanics, the Three-Dimensional Ising Model Problem. This work was included in the Top 100 Most Important Discoveries of the U.S. Department of Energy’s first 25 years, and as the 7th top achievement of the DOE in Advanced Scientific Computing.

Sorin's research focuses on computational molecular biology: computational methods for haplotypes reconstruction and genome-wide association studies, the regulatory genome and gene regulatory networks, and the protein folding problem; on algorithms and computational complexity; and on statistical physics. Together with Pavel Pevzner and Mike Waterman, he is co-founder of the RECOMB Conference series, Co-Editor of the MIT Press Computational Molecular Biology series, and Co-Editor of the Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics series. In January of 2021, after 20 years, he stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Computational Biology. In 2010, Sorin was named Professor Honoris Causa of the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University, Iasi, Romania. He has an Erdos number of 2 and postcard-Erdos number of 1; through PhD advisor genealogy, he has 9 links to Euler and 11 links to Leibniz.

Sorin and the other 2021 Fellows will be recognized during the ISMB/ECCB 2021 virtual event, which will be held from July 26-30, 2021. The full list of Fellows is available here.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.