Informatics Research Seminar: Visualization and Analysis of the Emergence, Evolution, and Spread of Pathogens

January 21 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Speaker: Daniel Janies, PhD
Presented from UNC-C

Broadcast Link: Seminar



Science has used molecular phylogenetics in many ways to understand the spread of pathogens and their features, which can include the place of isolation, host, or tropism of a pathogen, or genotypes that confer phenotypes such as drug resistance. One issue that often arises is the difficulty in interpreting features mapped onto a large phylogeny. The presentation will demonstrate several workflows designed to enhance the understanding of phylogenetic data, including projection of a phylogeny and its features in a geographic information system, and calculation of a between-ness graph for a phylogeny and its features. The projection is akin to a weather map for infectious diseases. The between-ness graph allows users to understand the relative flow of related pathogens among several geographical places or various hosts. Use cases with public health significance will be discussed.


Daniel Janies, PhD joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte as The Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics, Director of Bioinformatics Research, and Director of Graduate Global Research and Educational Programs in 2012.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Florida, Dr. Janies worked as a postdoctoral fellow (1996-1999) and a principal investigator (2000-2002) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In 2001, he led a team that used off-the-shelf PC components to build one of the world’s largest computing clusters. Most recently, Dr. Janies was a tenured faculty member in the College of Medicine at the Ohio State University.

Dr. Janies is a national principal investigator in the Tree of Life program of the National Science Foundation. He also focuses on the evolution and spread of pathogens. He has developed the theory and practice of mapping pathogen genetic data in concert with geography and host animals. His results are akin to weather maps for infectious diseases that allow public health scientists to visualize when and where pathogens jump from animals to humans and evolve to resist drugs. Dr. Janies has advised the White House and Pentagon, and testified to both Houses of Congress on emerging infectious diseases.