[ASC-media] Prime Minister¹s Prize for Science recipient Professor Terry Speed tours the country.

Stephanie Pradier stephanie at amsi.org.au
Tue Aug 26 20:28:53 PDT 2014


Dear ASCers,

Professor Terry Speed FAA, FRS, the 2013 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and one of the world’s leading statisticians, has embarked on a four-month tour to bring the new and critical science of bioinformatics to an Australian audience.

Terry currently heads the bioinformatics division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne. The tour, which was launched in Melbourne last week, consists of public lectures as well as specialised workshops and seminars aimed at academics and students.

Terry will go beyond the human genome and explain the next frontier: understanding human epigenomes. Epigenomes are the ‘instructions’ which tell DNA whether to make skin cells, blood cells or other body parts. Epigenetics also aims to explain how cells are re-programmed through interaction with the environment and how this leads to some forms of cancer.

Terry explains: “Consider the impact of diet. For example, if you feed a worker bee royal jelly you convert it into a queen bee. Diet alone changes the way in which the genes are expressed so that although it was originally sterile, it becomes fertile, it’s able to lay eggs – a pretty dramatic change just from eating some jelly.”

Being able to look at an abstract and more perfect world is what drew Terry to study mathematics; it was his interests in evolution and genetics that lead him to bioinformatics.

And he says advances in DNA sequencing over the last five years have allowed large amounts of DNA sequence data to be compiled. “For every single reference human genome, there will be literally hundreds of reference epigenomes, and their analysis could occupy biologists, bioinformaticians and biostatisticians for some time to come,” Terry says.

Professor Geoff Prince, AMSI Director, says: “The AMSI-SSAI Lecture<http://maths.org.au/index.php/component/content/article/292-research/lecture-tours/1271-prof-terry-speed-lecture-tour> tours bring to Australia public lectures and technical talks from some of the world’s top statisticians. Professor Terry Speed has a heavy schedule because of his inspiring reputation as a researcher and lecturer; I’m sure we won’t be disappointed!”

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) partners with the Statistical Society of Australia (SSAI) to sponsor this lecture tour.

Lecture tour website, including all abstracts: amsi.org.au/speed<www.amsi.org.au/speed>

Extended interview with Professor Speed: amsi.org.au/speed-interview<http://maths.org.au/index.php/component/content/article/87-news/general-and-outreach-news/1297-dr-matt-ritchie-talks-to-professor-terry-speed-about-his-work>

We hope that you can make it along to one of Terry's events.

Best,
S.
Stéphanie Pradier
Media and Communications
(I am in the office Wednesday,Thursday and Friday)
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