CBCB Seminar Series

UPDATE (Jan. 17, 2023): For Spring 2023, the CBCB Seminar Series will be held weekly during the academic year, with the goal of bringing the CBCB community together to learn about the research being done at the Center, at UMD, and at other institutions. To this end, the seminar features invited speakers from academia and industry as well as talks by faculty and graduate students in the Center. Talks by invited speakers are 40-50 minutes followed by questions. Talks by graduate students are 20 minutes followed by questions. If you are interested in speaking, please contact Erin Molloy. The CBCB Seminar Series will be held on Thursdays from 2-3pm at the Iribe Center in room 4105 unless otherwise noted. If you're unable to attend in person, please contact us for a Zoom link.

Other seminars you may be interested in attending can be found HERE


    CBCB Seminar Series Schedule for Spring Semester 2023



     Institution or   Advisor/Lab 

     Topic & Abstract 

     Location  or  Zoom Only 


    Jason Fan

    Patro Lab

    Spectrum preserving tilings enable sparse and modular reference indexing

    Abstract: The reference indexing problem for k-mers is to pre-process a collection of reference genomic sequences ℛ so that the position of all occurrences of any queried k-mer can be rapidly identified. An efficient and scalable solution to this problem is fundamental for many tasks in bioinformatics.

    In this work, we introduce the spectrum preserving tiling (SPT), a general representation of R that specifies how a set of tiles repeatedly occur to spell out the constituent reference sequences in R. By encoding the order and positions where tiles occur, SPTs enable the implementation and analysis of a general class of modular indexes. An index over an SPT decomposes the reference indexing problem for k-mers into: (1) a k-mer-to-tile mapping; and (2) a tile-to-occurrence mapping. Recently introduced work to construct and compactly index k-mer sets can be used to efficiently implement the k-mer-to-tile mapping. However, implementing the tile-to-occurrence mapping remains prohibitively costly in terms of space. As reference collections become large, the space requirements of the tile-to-occurrence mapping dominates that of the k-mer-to-tile mapping since the former depends on the amount of total sequence while the latter depends on the number of unique k-mers in R. To address this, we introduce a class of sampling schemes for SPTs that trade off speed to reduce the size of the tile-to-reference mapping. We implement a practical index with these sampling schemes in the tool pufferfish2. When indexing over 30,000 bacterial genomes, pufferfish2 reduces the size of the tile-to-occurrence mapping from 86.3GB to 34.6GB while incurring only a 3.6× slowdown when querying k-mers from a sequenced readset.

    Iribe #4105


    Yunheng Han

    Molloy Lab

    TREE-QMC: Improving quartet graph construction for scalable and accurate species tree estimation from gene trees

    Abstract: Summary methods are one of the dominant approaches for estimating species trees from genome-scale data. However, they can fail to produce accurate species trees when the input gene trees are highly discordant due to gene tree estimation error as well as biological processes, like incomplete lineage sorting. Here, we introduce a new summary method TREE-QMC that offers improved accuracy and scalability under these challenging scenarios. TREE-QMC builds upon the algorithmic framework of QMC (Snir and Rao 2010) and its weighted version wQMC (Avni et al. 2014). Their approach takes weighted quartets (four-leaf trees) as input and builds a species tree in a divide-and-conquer fashion, at each step constructing a graph and seeking its max cut. We improve upon this methodology in two ways. First, we address scalability by providing an algorithm to construct the graph directly from the input gene trees. By skipping the quartet weighting step, TREE-QMC has a time complexity of O(n3k) with some assumptions on subproblem sizes, where n is the number of species and k is the number of gene trees. Second, we address accuracy by normalizing the quartet weights to account for “artificial taxa,” which are introduced during the divide phase so that solutions on subproblems can be combined during the conquer phase. Together, these contributions enable TREE-QMC to outperform the leading methods (ASTRAL-III, FASTRAL, wQFM) in an extensive simulation study. We also present the application of these methods to several phylogenomics data sets. Note: preliminary results for this project were presented in RIPS 2022. This talk includes many new results, including methodological changes to improve robustness to missing data.

    Iribe #4105