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De Witt L. Sumners, O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Florida State University, will discuss computational biology and its use in studying DNA during the Dean of the College of Sciences Lecture Series in Bioinformatics, Monday and Tuesday, April 9-10, at Old Dominion University.

Sumners' April 9 public lecture, "Calculating the Secrets of Life: Mathematics in Biology and Medicine," will be at 8 p.m. in room 100 of Kaufman Hall.

His April 10 technical lecture, on the topological approach to the study of enzymes and their effect on DNA, will be at 12:30 p.m. in room 234 of the Batten Arts and Letters Building.

Topology is a branch of mathematics that studies patterns of geometric figures involving position and relative position without regard to size.

Bioinformatics, also called computational biology, is the use of computers in the organization, analysis and synthesis of information obtained from biological experiments to create new biological knowledge, said David Keyes, chairman of Old Dominion's Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

It is poised to become in the next decade what information technology has been in the last decade in revolutionizing the lifestyles of all Americans, fueling the creation of new industries and attracting the attention of many of the nation's brightest and most entrepreneurial young scientists.

Bioinformatics holds the promise of developing and evaluating new pharmaceuticals, creating methods of diagnosis and treatment for currently untreatable diseases and for enhancing agricultural productivity, and unlocking fundamental scientific discoveries.

"It rides the wave of high performance computing into new oceans of science that were either completely inaccessible or too costly and time-consumptive to be practical with experimental techniques alone," Keyes said.

For more information, call the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at 683-3882 or consult the series' Web site at www.cs.odu.edu/~pothen/Bioinformatics.

This article was posted on: April 3, 2001

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