Over the past few decades, technological developments has resulted in the accumulation of large genomic data even within a single experiment. The analysis of these data has led to many novel discoveries and medical applications. For this reason, the majority of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies today, as well as many labs in academia, include experts in analysis of the biological data that is emerging from these technologies. These experts have domain expertise in subfields of genomics such as cancer genomics, statistical genetics, protein structure prediction, computational medicine, metagenomics, and others.
The analysis of these datasets requires the development of methods that are domain-specific. For this reason, over the years, many communities that are dedicated to specific subfields of genomics have emerged. Unfortunately, this resulted in smaller overlap between the different sub-domains; for example, the statistical genomics community has minimal overlap with the metagenomics community. CGSI was formed in order to bridge this gap; it is a methods-oriented program, with the goal to create interactions between the different fields of research in computational genomics in an informal setting.
In order to achieve this goal, we structure CGSI in a very non-typical way, resulting in its own unique culture. Specifically, CGSI is a fusion of a summer school and a scientific conference. It has the characteristics of a conference since it brings together over a hundred researchers and trainees who showcase their latest research. On the other hand, it has the characteristics of a summer school since it is a month-long program that involves a combination of tutorials (broader talks that include an overview of the field) and research talks, which lead to in-depth discussion during breaks. Importantly, in CGSI we emphasize the need for interaction between participants; we offer “icebreakers" and other social activities, including an opening retreat in the mountains, a picnic at the beach, and sports activities that involve both the faculty and the trainees. It is an informal setting with long coffee breaks that allow for ample discussions.
We are very proud of the faculty in the CGSI community; it is clear that everyone that joins these meetings view them as an opportunity to be part of a larger community. The vast majority of the CGSI faculty spend at least a week at CGSI, take part in the social events, and they make an effort to interact with other faculty and trainees from other fields in computational genomics in order to create a sense of a larger methods-based community. We welcome to our community both new and established researchers who are interested in methods development for genomics and medical applications, and who would like to become part of a larger, friendly and intellectually intriguing community.
The institute has its roots in a program called “Mathematical and Computational Approaches in High-Throughput Genomics” which was held at UCLA's Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM) that was led by Russ Caflisch at the time. Many of the current CGSI faculty were involved in this program. CGSI was then founded in 2015, when Eleazar Eskin (UCLA), Eran Halperin (UCLA), John Novembre (The University of Chicago), and Ben Raphael (Princeton University), along with IPAM, set out to develop an annual program for improving education and facilitating collaboration in genomics and related fields
CGSI Program Directors
Head of Computational Medicine Department | UCLA
Computer Science & Anesthesiology | UCLA
CGSI Organizing Committee 2020
Research Assistant Professor
Biomedical Informatics | Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Computer Science, Computational Medicine & Human Genetics | UCLA
Biomedical Data Science | Stanford University
CGSI Steering Committee
Human Genetics, Ecology & Evolution | University of Chicago
Computer Science | Princeton University
Director of Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics | UCLA