Carnegie Mellon University
July 13, 2015

Three new faculty members to join Computational Biology Department

The Computational Biology Department is pleased to announce that this year three new faculty members have accepted offers to join us.

Phillip CompeauPhillip Compeau, Assistant Teaching Professor (starting Fall 2015)

Phillip will be joining us from Dr. Pavel Pevzner’s group at the University of California, San Diego, where he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics.  Phillip is already recognized internationally as an innovator in online education, having co-founded (with Nikolay Vyahhi) the online coding and bioinformatics instructional website called Rosalind, and developing (with Pavel Pevzner) the first massive open online course (MOOC) in computational biology. At Carnegie Mellon, he will teach a number of introductory courses and develop new online educational materials in computational biology.  He will also take over from Karen Thickman as co-Assistant Director of the Computational Biology Masters of Science program.

Jian MaJian Ma, Associate Professor (starting Spring 2016)

Jian is currently an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and will join us as Associate Professor of Computational Biology in January 2016.  Jian is a leader in computational approaches to comparative genomics, and his group has produced a number of state-of-the-art algorithms for whole genome comparisons. His lab is also working on cancer genomics. He was named as one of “Tomorrow’s PIs” by Genome Technology magazine in 2011 and has published a number of papers in high-impact journals, including Nature, PNAS, and PLoS Computational Biology.  He received an NSF CAREER award and his work is currently funded by a number of grants from NSF and NIH.

Andreas Pfenning Andreas R Pfenning, Assistant Professor (starting Fall 2016)

Andreas will be joining us after completing training with Dr. Manolis Kellis as a postdoctoral associate in a joint position between the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Genetics Department of Harvard Medical School.  He is working to better understand the principles that govern neurological disorders and complex vertebrate behaviors from a genetic and evolutionary perspective. He has conducted research on the genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease progression and evolution of vocal learning behavior. Andreas has a broad base of knowledge in computational biology, neurobiology, genetics, and epigenetics. He is currently working as a. He has a PhD in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics from Duke University and a BS in Computer Science, from Carnegie Mellon (2006).  He has published a number of high-impact papers, including three in Nature and three in Science. Andreas was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.