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Jan - Heng Li

Event Details


Thursday, January 19th, 2023 6:00pm - 9:00pm PT

Location: St. Paul's Hospital (1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6), Cullen Family Lecture Theatre (Providence Building, Level 1, Room 1477)

Featured Speaker: Dr. Heng Li

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Talk Title: Genome assembly in the telomere-to-telomere era


Recent advances in sequencing technologies have enabled high-quality human assembly at the population scale. I will review the latest development of long-read assembly algorithms in general and explain the algorithms behind hifiasm, a de novo assembler for accurate long reads. I will also demonstrate the importance of high-quality assembly with results from the Human Pangenome Project.


Heng Li is an associate professor of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He studies advanced computational methods and mathematical models to help researchers to understand biology better and has worked on genomics, population genetics and phylogenetics. He led the design of the SAM format, created SAMtools/htslib and developed BWA and minimap2 among others. He also routinely collaborates with other biologists and computer scientists, and has been involved in multiple international projects such as the 1000 Genomes Project and the Human Pangenome Reference project.

Heng Li graduated from Nanjing University in China with a B.Sc. in physics. Under the supervision of Wei-Mou Zheng, he obtained my Ph.D. in theoretical biophysics in 2006 from the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, while working at BGI in the same period. He was a postdoc of Richard Durbin before he became a research scientist at the Broad Institute in 2009.

Trainee Speaker: Dr. Melissa Chen

Affiliation: Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Cara Haney Lab, University of British Columbia

Talk Title: Preventing pathogen establishment with host-associated microbiota: patterns across plant and animal systems