Brown Lab Receives NSF Grant

Phylogenetics

lab members

A major goal of evolutionary biology is to understand how all living things are related to one another (a field known as phylogenetics). To do this, we can use the sequences of thousands of different genes from all across the genomes of different species. However, analyzing these datasets can be very challenging, not only because they're big, but also because they're complicated. Genes evolve differently and offer different perspectives on evolutionary relationships. Only when we consider all of this variation together do we really understand both how species are related and what forces shape a gene's evolution.

 

This grant will fund the development of CloudForest, a new cyberinfrastructure workflow, to make these kinds of phylogenomic analyses more flexible, robust, and reproducible. We are calling it a cyberinfrastructure workflow, because it can take different forms depending on whether a researcher is using their own personal computer, a university computing cluster, or commercial cloud computing. In all of these cases, CloudForest will provide researchers with a set of tightly interconnected tools that will allow them to learn about evolutionary history in a way that is more intuitive and involves less hassle. CloudForest should make phylogenomics more accessible to a wide variety of researchers, who have different levels of resources at their disposal and are interested in different questions, while ensuring that results remain rigorous. Read more about the award