Headshot portrait of Aaron Wenger - Morgridge Family SIGF Fellow
Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2010
Home Department: Computer Science
Faculty Advisor: Gill Bejerano (Developmental Biology, Computer Science)

Research Title: A Computational and Experimental Approach to Annotating the Function of Regulatory Elements in the Human Genome

Research Description: Since the completion of the draft genome in 2000, researchers have identified genomic associations for hundreds of human traits, from height and weight to breast cancer susceptibility. Surprisingly, most trait-associated genomic regions do not contain protein-coding "genes." Instead, the regions encode regulatory elements that activate gene expression in specific tissues in the body at different timepoints in development or in response to environmental conditions. To study how information is encoded in these regulatory elements, Aaron integrated large scale, genome-wide experimental measurements with computational learning methods. Understanding this encoding will explain why certain genetic changes result in trait differences and suggest therapeutic targets for numerous human diseases.


Aaron is a director at Pacific Biosciences, developing applications of long-read genome sequencing.