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Dr. Ewan Birney is Director of European Bioiformatics Institute with Dr. Rolf Apweiler, and runs a small research group. He played a vital role in annotating the genome sequences of the human, mouse, chicken, and several other organisms; this work has had a profound impact on our understanding of genomic biology. He led the analysis group for the ENCODE project, which is defining functional elements in the human genome. Birney’s main areas of research include functional genomics, assembly algorithms, statistical methods to analyze genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences), and compression of sequence information.

Birney completed his Ph.D. at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin, and worked in the laboratories of leading scientists Adrian Krainer, Toby Gibson, and Iain Campbell. He has received a number of prestigious awards including the 2003 Francis Crick Award from the Royal Society, the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology, and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics. Birney was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.


Dr. Paul S. Weiss leads an interdisciplinary research group that includes chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists, mathematicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, and computer scientists. Their work focuses on the ultimate limits of miniaturization, exploring the atomic-scale chemical, physical, optical, mechanical, and electronic properties of surfaces and supramolecular assemblies. He and his students have developed new techniques to expand the applicability and chemical specificity of scanning probe microscopies. They have applied these and other tools to the study of catalysis, self- and directed assembly, and molecular and nanoscale devices. They work to advance nanofabrication down to ever smaller scales and greater chemical specificity in order to operate and to test functional molecular assemblies, and to connect these to the biological and chemical worlds. He has written over 300 publications, holds over 20 patents, and has given over 600 invited, plenary, keynote, and named lectures. 

Weiss received his S.B. and S.M. degrees in chemistry from MIT in 1980 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. He was a postdoctoral member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1986-1988 and a Visiting Scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center from 1988-1989. He is a distinguished professor of chemistry & biochemistry and materials science & engineering at UCLA. From 2009-2014, he was the director of the California NanoSystems Institute and Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences. Before coming to UCLA, he was a distinguished professor of chemistry and physics at the Pennsylvania State University, where he began his academic career as an assistant professor in 1989. He is the founding and current editor-in-chief of ACS Nano.

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