Steven Salzberg named Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Computational biologist, Steven L. Salzberg, PhD, has joined the ranks of the university’s Bloomberg Distinguished Professors. Salzberg, a professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics, was one of four renowned professors in the most recent group of appointments, raising to 10 the number of Bloomberg Distinguished Professors on the faculty. The Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship is awarded to facilitate university-wide cross-disciplinary work — galvanizing people, resources, research and educational opportunities to undertake complex global health challenges.
As director for the Center for Computational Biology (CCB), Salzberg brings together scientists and engineers from many fields, including computer science, biostatistics, genomics, genetics, molecular biology, physics and mathematics — all of whom share a common interest in gaining a better understanding of how genes and genomes affect biological functions. The center is using the latest sequencing technologies and new computational methods for analysis of DNA and RNA sequences.
Salzberg’s team is developing new diagnostic methods and software that can be used not only in lab studies, but also while doctors are diagnosing patients. These tools will enable the onsite translation of huge sets of data — ultimately improving healthcare by allowing practitioners to accurately diagnose and customize patient treatment.
“What we do looks like computer science, but we aim to solve problems in medicine and biological science,” he says. For example, Salzberg and his Hopkins colleagues are now able to take a sample from the site of an infection and use sequencing to determine what the infection is.
Salzberg was an early contributor to the Human Genome Project. Later at the Institute for Genomic Research, he was one of only two computer scientists to work on some of the first genomes ever sequenced. He currently has appointments on the faculties of the School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering.
In addition to Salzberg, Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist and immunologist; Christopher Chute, a leader in the field of health informatics; and Alexander Szalay, a cosmologist and computer scientist — join six scholars who were named to these prestigious endowed professorships last year.
These and future Bloomberg Distinguished Professors will deepen the university’s well-known capacity for collaboration, bring new leaders and their ideas to our campuses, train new collaborative scholars and serve as a model for the future of academia.