James A. and Julie N. Brown Professor of Computational and Mathematical Sciences


Sorin Istrail is the Julie Nguyen Brown Professor of Computational and Mathematical Sciences and 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 the 2001 Science paper "The Sequence of the Human Genome," which, with over 9500 citations to date, is one of the most cited scientific paper. 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 his Celera group in collaboration with the company ClearForrest won the ACM KDD Cup – the top international data mining/machine learning competition – for automatic annotation of the Drosophila genome. In 2003 he joined the ranks of Applied Biosystems Science Fellows, one of just six Science Fellows in a company of 800 scientists. Before Celera, Professor Istrail founded and led the Computational Biology Project at Sandia National Laboratories (1992-2000). In 2000, he obtained the negative solution (computational intractability) of a 50 years 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 in Scientific Computing. In 1998, his work on Protein Misfolding simulations was included by Scientific American in its "Best of 1998" list.Professor Istrail's research focuses on computational molecular biology, human genetics and genome-wide associations studies, medical bioinformatics of multiple sclerosis, autism, HIV, preterm labor and viral immunology, statistical physics, algorithms and computational complexity. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computational Biology, co-founder with of the Annual International Conference on Research on Computational Biology (RECOMB), and co-editor-in-chief of the MIT Press Computational Molecular Biology series and the Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics series. He is Professor Honoris Causa of the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University, Iasi, Romania.

Brown Affiliations