[Ml-stat-talks] Seminar, Rafael Irizarry, Mon 10/17 4:15PM

jstorey at princeton.edu jstorey at princeton.edu
Wed Oct 12 09:36:18 EDT 2011

Rafael Irizarry from the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University will be giving a talk in the Lewis-Sigler Institute this Monday, Oct 17, at 4:15pm in Carl Icahn Lab 101.  Rafa is a very prominent applied statistician, who won the COPSS Presidents' Award and is one of the most highly cited statisticians active today.  His talk seems to be fairly biological, but I am confident there will be plenty of interesting content for those on this list.

Title: Epigenetic variation as a driving force for development, evolutionary adaptation, and cancer
Location: Carl Icahn Lab 101
Date/Time: 10/17/11 at 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

Abstract: Epigenetics is the study of nonsequence-based changes, such as DNA methylation, heritable during cell division. Previous attempts to incorporate epigenetics into evolutionary thinking have focused on environmentally directed epigenetic changes. In this talk I describe a new theory for a role of epigenetics in evolution that suggests that genetic variants that do not change mean phenotype could change the variability of phenotype; and this could be mediated epigenetically. This inherited stochastic variation model would provide a mechanism to explain an epigenetic role of developmental biology in selectable phenotypic variation, largely unexplained heritable genetic variation underlying common complex disease, and heterogeneity in various functional endpoints in cancer. I will described some of the statistical methods developed to effectively measure genome-wide methylation with microarrays and second generation sequencing, as well as methods to determine sites enriched for variability. I will also show some statistical simulations to motivate the evolution model.


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