Colin Scanes, Plant Sciences Institute, (515) 294-5267
Hal Stern, Statistics, (515) 294-5582
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa – Hal Stern, professor of statistics at Iowa State University, has been named interim director of the Laurence H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics, a center of the Plant Sciences Institute.

"Hal Stern will provide leadership and bring his strengths in statistics to the center and the discipline of bioinformatics," said Colin Scanes, interim director of the Plant Sciences Institute.

Stern joined the ISU statistics faculty in 1994 and was named professor in 1997. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and editor of their publication, "Chance." Stern is co-author of the book, "Bayesian Data Analysis."

Stern earned his bachelor's degree in 1981 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. He earned his master's (1985) and doctoral (1987) degrees in statistics from Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. He was on the faculty at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., from 1987 to 1994.

The Laurence H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics helps scientists access, manipulate and interpret the massive amounts of data on thousands of individual plants made possible by the technological revolution in molecular genetics. Center researchers develop advanced methods, algorithms and programs for acquiring molecular genetics data in an orderly fashion, analyzing it and providing analysis back to plant scientists worldwide. Stern succeeds James Cornette, professor of mathematics, who retired in May.

"Jim. Cornette successfully brought together faculty from many academic departments in four colleges to establish the new graduate and research programs in bioinformatics and computational biology," Scanes said.

A national search for a permanent director for the center will begin this fall.

The Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University consists of eight research centers. Its goal is to become one of the world's leading institutes for plant science research, education and unbiased research-based information. Researchers are developing ways to help feed the growing world population, strengthen human health and nutrition, improve crop quality and yield, foster environmental sustainability and expand the uses of plants for biobased products and bioenergy.


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