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Molecular and Human Genetics

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
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Erez Aiden, Ph.D.

Erez Aiden, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics
McNair Scholar
CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research

Other Positions

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Rice University
Assistant Professor, Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University


Ph.D., Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University, 2010-2013

Research Interests

A genome is a miraculous physical mechanism for compactly storing and rapidly accessing information. Recall that if you put a pair of headphones into your pocket, and pull them out a bit later, they’ve invariably become phenomenally extremely entangled. But the giant neurons of the sea hare, Aplysia, can take 200 trillion base pairs – half a petabyte of information, a genomic string the length of Long Island – and fold them up into a nucleus smaller than cubic millimeter, while keeping all those bits accessible at all times.

A central focus of our laboratory is the question of how this is achieved. How are the genomes of humans and other organisms folded, in three dimensions, inside the nucleus of a functioning cell? How is this folding process controlled? And how does this folding process, in turn, regulate other cellular processes? To answer these questions, we combine the development of new molecular technologies, high-throughput DNA sequencing, and powerful computational and biophysical methods.

The lab is also extremely interested in the application of massive datasets - including, but not limited to, DNA sequence - as an approach to making previously intractable measurements possible. Three dimensional genome sequencing is one example, but there are many, many others, ranging across many fields. Recently, our work led to the creation of the Google Ngram Viewer.

Selected Publications

  1. Lieberman-Aiden E*, van Berkum NL*, Williams L, Imakaev M, Ragoczy T, Telling A, Amit I, Lajoie BR, Sabo PJ, Dorschner MO, Sandstrom R, Bernstein B, Bender MA, Groudine M, Gnirke A, Stamatoyannopoulos J, Mirny LA, Lander ES, Dekker J (2009). Comprehensive mapping of long-range interactions reveals folding principles of the human genome. Science 326(5950): 289-93. PubMed PMID: 19815776 *equal contribution.
  2. Mikkelsen TS, Ku M, Jaffe DB, Issac B, Lieberman E, Giannoukos G, Alvarez P, Brockman W, Kim TK, Koche RP, Lee W, Mendenhall E, O'Donovan A, Presser A, Russ C, Xie X, Meissner A, Wernig M, Jaenisch R, Nusbaum C, Lander ES, Bernstein BE (2007). Genome-wide maps of chromatin state in pluripotent and lineage-committed cells. Nature 448(7153): 553-60. PubMed PMID: 17603471
  3. Michel JB*, Shen YK, Aiden AP, Veres A, Gray MK; Google Books Team, Pickett JP, Hoiberg D, Clancy D, Norvig P, Orwant J, Pinker S, Nowak MA, Aiden EL* (2011). Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books. Science 331(6014): 176-82. PubMed PMID: 21163965 *co-corresponding, equal contribution.
  4. Lieberman E*, Michel JB*, Jackson J, Tang T, Nowak MA (2007). Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language. Nature 449(7163): 713-6. PubMed PMID: 17928859 *equal contribution.
  5. Ohtsuki H, Hauert C, Lieberman E, Nowak MA (2006). A simple rule for the evolution of cooperation on graphs and social networks. Nature 441(7092): 502-5. PubMed PMID: 16724065
  6. Lieberman E, Hauert C, Nowak MA (2005). Evolutionary dynamics on graphs. Nature 433(7023): 312-6. PubMed PMID: 15662424
  7. Lieberman Aiden E (2011). GE Prize essay. Zoom!: exploring how the genome folds by using three dimensional genome sequencing. Science 334(6060): 1222-3. PubMed PMID: 22144611
  8. Shendure J, Lieberman Aiden E (2012). The expanding scope of DNA sequencing. Nat. Biotechnol. 30(11): 1084-94. PubMed PMID: 23138308
  9. Dekker J, Wysocka J, Mattaj I, Lieberman Aiden E, Pikaard C (2013). Nuclear biology: what's been most surprising? Cell 152(6): 1207-8. PubMed PMID: 23616995

Contact Information

Erez Aiden, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM225
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.

Phone: 713-798-6522

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