Colorado State Invites Community to Two Public Lectures by Human Genome Project Expert David Haussler on Nov. 14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     

October 31, 2003                               

Brad Bohlander

(970) 491-1545                                        


FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University welcomes the Fort Collins and Northern Colorado communities to two Nov. 14 presentations by noted human genome expert David Haussler: "The USCS Human Genome Browser" at 3:10 p.m. and "Comparing the Human, Mouse and Rat Genomes" at 4:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater. Receptions with Haussler will be hosted in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Presentations and receptions are free and open to the public.  

Haussler played a decisive role in the Human Genome Project, which focuses on identifying all of the approximately 30,000 genes in human DNA and determining the sequences of three billion chemical-base pairs that make up human DNA. His talks at Colorado State will focus on the public domain of human genes in DNA.

Haussler and graduate student Jim Kent developed the algorithm that assembled the human genome for the Human Genome Project. On June 22, 2000, Haussler and Kent made history when their computers at the University of California at Santa Cruz produced the first assembly of the human genome just days ahead of a private company. At stake had been whether the human genome would remain in the public domain after it was decoded. On July 7, Haussler and Kent posted their "working draft" of the assembly, ensuring that it would remain in the public domain.

"Watching all those As, Ts, Gs, and Cs connect together on my computer screen at the first assembly was the personal thrill of my career," said Haussler.  

The discovered information has been of great benefit to biomedical researchers, helping to identify genes related to specific diseases, to understand how genetic variations affect susceptibility to diseases and responses to drugs, and to the design new drugs. Of the human diseases known to be linked to specific genes, 95 percent are associated with genes that have been located in the working draft of the genome.  

The next phase in the understanding of the human genome will be to identify the important elements of the human genome and understand their functions. One avenue for accomplishing this is through the comparison of the human genome to those of related mammals.

Haussler is a professor of computer science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California-Santa Cruz. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The Colorado State Information Science and Technology Center, or ISTeC, is sponsoring Haussler as the ISTeC Distinguished Lecture for his first talk. Haussler’s second presentation is the Department of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture and is co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and ISTeC.

ISTeC is a universitywide organization for promoting, facilitating and enhancing Colorado State’s research, education and outreach activities pertaining to the design and innovative application of computer, communication and information systems.

For more information about the lectures, contact the Colorado State Department of Computer Science at (970) 491-5862.