Boucher to Serve on National Institutes of Health Study Section

Christina Boucher, Ph.D.

Christina Boucher, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering, has accepted an invitation from the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a standing member of the Biodata Management and Analysis (BDMA) Study Section. Her term began July 1, 2021, and ends June 30, 2027. Of the approximately 20 members, Dr. Boucher is the only one from a Florida university.

“It is a great honor to serve the NIH in this role,” Dr. Boucher said. “It will increase the visibility of bioinformatics at CISE and the University of Florida. It is a great career achievement that will allow me to have greater networking opportunities and also be able to give feedback about proposed research projects in bioinformatics.”

Standing members are selected based on research accomplishments, grant history, publication history and review experience. The BDMA study section reviews grant applications concerned with computational methods for acquisition, management, querying, sharing and analysis of biological data. Participation in a study section presents a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort and requires a significant commitment of professional time.

Dr. Boucher’s research is on developing algorithms and data structures that allow for large-scale biological sequence analysis. She incorporates the latest sequencing technologies and biological analyses into her work. Two major biological themes recur in her research: alignment to pan-genomes (usually human) and understanding how microbial species move and evolve.

She has over 100 publications in bioinformatics, with over two dozen of them in succinct data structures and/or alignment. Considering this, she was a keynote speaker for SPIRE 2021, IABD 2019, FAB 2018, RECOMB-SEQ 2016 and the ECCB 2016 Workshop on Pan-Genomics. She is a recipient of an ESA 2016 Best Paper Award.

Dr. Boucher’s training and expertise is in bioinformatics, mathematics and computer science. She spends the majority of her research efforts on furthering biomedical analysis and working with real biological data specializing in surveillance and identification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (in both clinical and environmental settings) and enabling the comparison of the genetic material of many individuals.

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