Prof Terry Speed AMSI-SSAI Lecture Tour: "A new frontier: understanding epigenetics through mathematics"


Tuesday, 23 September 2014 - 5:30pm


The Ritchie Theatre, Scientia Building, UNSW (map ref: G19)

Teery Speed
A free public lecture by Professor Terry Speed, 2014 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science recipient, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science winner and Head of Bioinformatics at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.


Scientists have now mapped the human genome - the next frontier is understanding human epigenomes; the ‘instructions’ which tell the DNA whether to make skin cells or blood cells or other body parts. Apart from a few exceptions, the DNA sequence of an organism is the same whatever cell is considered.

So why are the blood, nerve, skin and muscle cells so different and what mechanism is employed to create this difference? The answer lies in epigenetics.

If we compare the genome sequence to text, the epigenome is the punctuation and shows how the DNA should be read. Advances in DNA sequencing in 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.

Hosted by the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Statistical Society of Australia.