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Colloquium - Shah

Computational Metabolism
Imran Shah
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

Metabolism is a complex network of intertwined biochemical reactions that is found in all living organisms. It can be abstracted as a graph in which nodes signify molecular building blocks of life and arcs represent biochemical transformations between molecules. These transformations are responsible for converting inputs like food and sunlight into the elements necessary for accomplishing the fundamental activities of all living organisms. Enzymes are nature's catalysts. They are biological polymers, called proteins, whose physico-chemical properties give them the ability to catalyze specific biochemical transformations. Hence each arc in the metabolic graph can be labeled with a specific enzyme. The complete biochemical blueprint of an organism lies in a large molecule(s) known as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Collectively, the DNA of an organism is known as the genome and it encodes information about all the proteins the organism can produce. Hence, the genome indirectly specifies the metabolism of an organism. With the availability of complete genomic data for certain organisms it has become possible to theoretically identify all putative genes and hence all enzymes in an organism. This talk will present an overview of computational methods for making inferences about metabolism, and will highlight some of the challenges being addressed by us at UCHSC.

Imran Shah is Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His research interests include the development of automated computational tools for predicting metabolic pathways and for assigning functions to biomolecular sequences. His recent work involves an approach for metabolic pathway prediction from biochemical data. This approach integrates techniques for biochemical function assignment with graph search methods. He makes use of diverse computational methods including machine learning, visualization, simulation, distributed computing and databases in developing bioinformatics tools. Dr. Shah received his PhD in computational science and informatics from George Mason University (in 1999).

Hosted by Dirk Grunwald.
Refreshments will be served immediately following the talk in ECOT 831.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)