Dr Minh Bui, from the ANU Research School of Computer Science, has received a prestigious grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to use big data to provide insights from our DNA.
Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges
CZI supports the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century.
Dr Bui is collaborating with Associate Professor Robert Lanfear from the ANU Research School of Biology, using computer-aided tools to decipher evolutionary biology.
Their award-winning project is to develop an open standard and API (application programming interface) for phylogenetic models, which show the evolutionary history and relationships between humans and organisms.
The researchers aim to improve the speed and scalability of ‘IQ-TREE’. This software is used to study genetics, with a complex algorithm under the hood that can analyse ultra-large scale data and infer phylogenetic trees.
IQ-TREE is already one of the most important and widely used pieces of open-source software in the biomedical sciences. Improving this service could see a huge advancement in efforts to improve disease detection and prevention, and ultimately save lives.
Dr Bui has also proposed the establishment of an annual IQ-TREE hackathon to maximise the development of new methods, models, and contributions to this important collaborative project.
Dr Bui has come from an international and interdisciplinary background, joining the College of Engineering and Computer Science from the ANU Research School of Biology. He completed his undergraduate degree in Vietnam, his masters in Germany, and his PhD in Austria.
Recently, he has been named the Field Leader in Evolutionary Biology by The Australian.
Congratulations to Dr Bui and Associate Professor Lanfear. The pair have definitely proven that winning grants is in their genes!
Find out more about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grants.