Adjunct Associate Professor
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1985
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1995
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science
University of Southern Maine
In the Congdon Lab, we are working on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, with an emphasis on developing programs for finding patterns in data (also known as machine learning or data mining). In our primary project, we (computationally) look in noncoding DNA sequences for patterns that appear to have been conserved across evolution; these patterns are candidates for study at the bench as potentially affecting genetic function. We also work on phylogenetics, developing new approaches to reconstructing the hypothesized evolutionary relationships among species. An entirely different project is Lobster CyberCatch, an educational game for middle school students.
Machine Learning and Bioinformatics
Machine learning is a subdiscipline of computer science that addresses how to extract patterns from data in order to make inferences or predictions. Our work focuses on the use of genetic algorithms, in which one "evolves" the model used to represent the patterns. In collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Mattingly and Dr. H. Rex Gaskins, we have developed GAMI, a genetic algorithms approach to motif inference. Our work focuses on the search for putative conserved regulatory regions in non-coding DNA. In addition to GAMI, we have also developed Gaphyl, a genetic algorithms approach to inferring phylogenies. We also work on developing genetic algorithms approaches to data mining. Undergraduate students have contributed to all of these projects.