US-Israel Binational Science Foundation and Gilbert Foundation Renew Support

We are very happy to announce the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) in partnership with the Gilbert Foundation are renewing support of our collaboration with Eran Halperin’s group in Tel Aviv University. This is our labs oldest active collaboration which began in 2001 when Professor Eskin met Eran Halperin at the RECOMB conference.

Our first joint project in genetics was a collaboration with Eran Halperin in 2003 (who was in Berkeley, CA at the time) on a problem called haplotype phasing and led to the software HAP ((14988101)). That led us to become involved in the first whole-genome map of human variation, which was published on the cover of Science in 2005 ((15718463)). We have continued to work closely and publish together because we have very complementary backgrounds. We came from machine learning and Eran come from theory. We have many joint projects, regular conference calls and visits, and collaborations between our students. One of my Ph.D. students was a post doc in Professor Halperin’s group and one of his post docs was recruited to UCLA as a faculty member.

Many of our most important research contributions have been jointly authored papers. This includes our work on characterizing genetic diversity using spatial ancestry analysis (SPA-(22610118)) and genotyping common and rare variants in very large population studies using overlapping pool sequencing, which can be used for the detection of cancer fusion genes from RNA sequences ((21989232)).

Thanks to the additional funding from BSF, we are expanding our current goals to address the problem of analysis of genetic data in conjunction with other data types such as epigenetic data (changes to the DNA along one’s lifetime) and RNA expression. There is strong evidence that these additional signals can provide more insights to the mechanisms of the disease, for example, epigenetic changes have been shown to be strongly related to certain diseases and environmental effects.

Further, the project enables an exchange of ideas and collaborations between not only myself and Eran but also between our students. Everyone involved benefits from this collaboration of Israeli and American scientists. This is our first BSF project and we are very grateful for the support of our collaboration.

To read the full article on our collaboration and the BSF, please click here.