Michael Waterman is University Professor Emeritus at University of Southern California and Distinguished Research Professor at University of Virginia. He works in computational biology and bioinformatics on genetic sequence analysis. His work includes the Smith-Waterman algorithm, the Lander-Waterman formulas and de Bruijn assembly.

Research Interests

Trained in statistics and mathematics, I became interested in the early 1970s in a set of problems from molecular biology. Today these problems are classified as sequence analysis including inference of evolutionary trees, predication of RNA secondary structure, multiple alignment, gaped alignment, and local alignment. The local alignment, or the Smith-Waterman algorithm, became the foundation tool for database search methods. The statistical distribution of local alignment scores is a very important aspect of assessing biological significance. As the genome project began, my interests turned to physical mapping with the Lander-Waterman formulas and estimating the quality of DNA sequences. Currently I am working on a new approach to genome sequence assembly, using an old idea of Euler's and on the assignment of sequence accuracy. Other projects include haplotype estimation and gene family evolution.

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Primary Section

Section 32: Applied Mathematical Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology