Positions

Cullen Chair and Professor
Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Professor
Pharmacology
Baylor College of Medicine
Cullen Foundation Chair and Director
Computational and Integrative Biomedical Research Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Co-Director
Program in Structural & Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics
Baylor College of Medicine
Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States

Education

BS from McGill University
PhD from Stanford University
MD from Stanford University School Of Medicine
Residency at University Of California, San Francisco Affiliate Hospitals
Internal Medicine
Fellowship at University Of California, San Francisco Affiliate Hospitals
Endocrinology
Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University Of California, San Francisco

Honors & Awards

Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award
Raymond and Beverley Sackler Fellowship, IHES
Basil O’Connor Award, March of Dimes
American Heart Association Faculty Development Award
American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship
Dorothy Penrose Stout Fellowship Award, American Heart Association

Professional Interests

  • Cognitive computing towards multi-scale data integration and rational design of multi-drug therapies.

Professional Statement

Our lab marries computation with experiments to study the molecular evolution of genes and pathways. We seek to understand their functions, and how they may become corrupted by genetic mistakes or re-engineered to new ends. The long-term goals are to design new therapies and to harness the synthetic potential of organisms. Shorter term goals are to interpret the mutational action of human genome variations on health and disease.

Our algorithms broadly merge mathematical and evolutionary principles. As a result, they enable multi-scale data integration and precise control of molecular functions. This has led to discoveries in diverse systems, for example, G protein signaling, malaria and cancer. Starting from structural bioinformatics, newer interests now include network theory, text-mining and cognitive computing. Technically, we draw upon a wide range of disciplines to address fundamental questions in structural biology, clinical genomics and precision medicine.

Specific examples includes a network compression scheme that made tractable the diffusion of information across nearly 400 species. This approach uncovered a possible mechanism for the best current drug against malaria. Other network studies, reasoned over the entire PubMed literature to discover new kinases and protein interactions for p53. A distinct line of research quantifies the evolutionary action (EA) of mutations on fitness and bridges between molecular and population genetics. EA correlates with experimental loss of function in proteins; with morbidity and mortality in people; and with purifying gene selection in population. In head and neck cancer patients, EA stratifies outcomes and suggests alternate therapy for some patients. In the coming years we hope to unite these different approaches into a coherent path to precision therapy personalized to patients on a case by case basis.

Selected Publications