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Yunlong Liu appointed interim director of IU School of Medicine Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics


INDIANAPOLIS – Yunlong Liu, PhD, will promote advanced computation and informatics approaches to research seeking to prevent and treat diseases as the interim director of Indiana University School of Medicine’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CCBB).

Dr. Liu is an internationally recognized leader in bioinformatics research and data analysis. His lab focuses on applying systems biology to enhance understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of gene expression, with an emphasis on splicing regulation.

Dr. Liu, who began his new duties July 1, leads a group of 19 multidisciplinary faculty members focused on using technology and data to increase understanding of normal and disease-associated biological processes, drug development and therapeutic responses.

The position is an addition to Dr. Liu’s current roles as professor of medical and molecular genetics, adjunct professor of biostatistics and director of the Center for Medical Genomics at IU School of Medicine, as well as adjunct professor of biohealth informatics in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He first joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 2006.

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, IU associate vice president of research for university clinical affairs and IU School of Medicine executive associate dean for research affairs, said Dr. Liu’s expertise and deep knowledge of IU School of Medicine make him a great fit for the position.

“I am thrilled that Yunlong will be leading such an important area of research in our Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics,” Dr. Shekhar said. “He brings a vast understanding of IU and an excellent record of collaborative research to the position.”

Dr. Liu said he looks forward to serving as interim director of the CCBB because of the tremendous potential to advance research. 

“Computational biology and bioinformatics is a crucial area for the growth of modern biology,” Dr. Liu said. “The CCBB is in the key position of extending the current IU School of Medicine research portfolio in systems biology and computational sciences, establishing a collaborative environment for supporting basic science programs and leading the development of the computational infrastructure. In collaboration with the translational biomedical informatics program led by the Regenstrief Institute, the CCBB will play key roles in the data sciences program of IU’s Precision Health Grand Challenge.”

Dr. Liu’s many research interests align with the IU Precision Health Initiative, including developing computational algorithms in predicting functions of genetic variants in complex diseases, designing methodologies on next generations sequencing technology and understanding regulatory mechanisms and translational impact of gene regulation in cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Liu succeeds former center director Lang Li, PhD, who has been named the new chair of biomedical informatics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Li had served as IU School of Medicine faculty since 2001. He also was the school’s T.K. Li Endowed Chair in Medical Research and associate director of the Indiana Institute of Personalized Medicine.

“I would like to thank Dr. Li for his excellent service and leadership during his time at IU,” Dr. Shekhar said. “Under his leadership, the center grew in its size recruiting outstanding faculty and making a significant impact on the research conducted across the school and beyond.”