2016 Marker Lecturer
The inaugural Russell E. Marker Lectures in the Statistical Sciences will be presented at Penn State University on April 25 and 26, 2016, by Bin Yu, the Chancellor's Professor of Statistics and Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.
Yu's research group is engaged with scientists doing interdisciplinary research in genomics, neuroscience, and remote sensing. Her interests focus on statistics and machine learning theory, methodologies, and algorithms for solving high-dimensional data problems. During the April 25 lecture for a general audience, Yu will describe a breakthrough at the intersection of neuroscience and statistics, in which a statistical method, Penalized Least Squares, was used to construct a “mind-reading” algorithm that reconstructs movies from brain signals obtained via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This achievement led to the development of the system that was selected as one of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2011. Yu's April 26 lecture intended for scientists will explore how gene networks contribute to the development of normal and abnormal tissues in an organism, including how these networks must vary in different locations in an organism to give rise to different types of tissue. In her technical talk on April 26, Yu will discuss a new method of extracting meaningful information from spatial gene-expression data (staNMF). The resulting representation of spatial patterns can be used for prediction and categorizing gene-expression patterns. Yu will demonstrate the use of the method to analyze the results of experiments in fruit flies, in which the gene networks have been altered using the new crispr/cas9 technology.
The Marker lectures were established in 1984 through a gift from Russell Earl Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid-hormone industry and opened the door to the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth-control pill. The Marker endowment allows the Penn State Eberly College of Science to present annual Marker lectures in astronomy and astrophysics, the chemical sciences, evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the mathematical sciences, the statistical sciences.