UM Computer Science Professor Earns Three-Year NIH Grant

April 05, 2017

MISSOULA – University of Montana Assistant Professor Travis Wheeler, assistant chair of UM’s computer science department, recently was awarded a three-year National Institutes for Health R15 grant.

Wheeler will receive $426,000 over three years for his project “Improved protein-DNA models for translated sequence search with profile Hidden Markov models.”

“I've been lucky to be joined by a terrific group of student researchers,” Wheeler said. “These funds will support two graduate students from that group, along with at least two undergraduates. We’re all excited to get to work developing new tools to help biologists do a better job of recognizing features in protein coding DNA sequences.”

Fast and sensitive sequence database searches are fundamental to modern molecular biology. Wheeler’s research will improve the accuracy of annotation of protein-coding content in sequenced genomes and metagenomic datasets.

“Modern molecular biology depends on the ability to computationally identify proteins and functional regions in those proteins,” Wheeler said. “We will develop new models that account for features (frameshift mutations and splice sites) that cause current methods to fail.”

For more information call Wheeler at 406-243-6219 or email travis.wheeler@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Travis Wheeler, assistant professor, UM Department of Computer Science, 406-243-6219, travis.wheeler@umontana.edu.