Five more years for David Haussler as HHMI Investigator

David Haussler. Photo by Ron Jones.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has extended the appointment of David Haussler as a HHMI Investigator for five years, through August 2012. Haussler, a professor of biomolecular engineering and director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, has been a HHMI investigator since 2000.

A pioneer in the field of bioinformatics, Haussler is developing new statistical and algorithmic methods to explore the molecular evolution of the human genome. His Genome Bioinformatics Group participates in the public consortium efforts to produce, assemble, and annotate the first mammalian genomes. The group designed and built the program that assembled the first working draft of the human genome sequence from information produced by sequencing centers worldwide. The group's interactive genome browser for metazoan genome sequences is used by thousands of biomedical researchers every day.

Recent findings from Haussler's group include the existence of "ultra-conserved" elements in the human genome that have remained essentially unchanged across millions of years of evolution (see earlier story). The Haussler laboratory has also identified genome segments that have undergone unusually rapid change in one species, such as a gene linked to brain development that has changed dramatically between chimpanzees and humans (see earlier story).

HHMI, a nonprofit medical research organization, advances biomedical research and science education in the United States and ranks as one of the nation's largest philanthropies.