Dana Pe’er, an associate professor in the Columbia University Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Systems Biology has been named the winner of the 2014 Overton Prize. Awarded by the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) since 2001, the Overton Prize recognizes one outstanding early- to mid-career scientist each year who has already made a significant contribution to the field of computational biology through research, education, service, or a combination of the three. The award recognizes Dr. Pe'er "for her cutting-edge research that applies computational methods to complex data to understand the organization of molecular networks in cells at a holistic systems level."
As the winner of the 2014 Overton Prize, Dr. Pe’er will receive the award and present a keynote address at the ISCB’s 22nd Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology, which will be held in July 2014 in Boston.
In her research, Dr. Pe’er leads the development of computational methods for integrating large, diverse collections of high-throughput biological data, with the goal of understanding the structure and function of molecular networks. In recent work, she has focused on developing methods for interpreting data from single cells and characterizing heterogeneity in populations of cells with diverse phenotypes. She is also developing computational models for understanding the effects of epigenetic variation on regulatory network function and how these changes in regulatory networks lead to specific phenotypes in health and disease. These areas of investigation are particularly relevant within the field of cancer research, and the Pe’er lab’s findings and computational methods have offered new strategies for improving personalized medicine for cancer care.