Ben Langmead, the 2016 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in Life Sciences, is recognized across the computational and life sciences fields for his innovative methods for analyzing high-throughput biological datasets, which are helping to transform how biomedical researchers and other life scientists access and use DNA sequencing data.

Langmead, associate professor of computer science and founder of the Johns Hopkins University Langmead Lab, applies computational methods such as algorithms, text indexing, and cloud computing to create software and resources for life scientists. DNA sequencing has become a ubiquitous tool in the study of biology, genetics, and disease, and Langmead’s innovations include developing high-impact software tools (e.g. Bowtie, Bowtie 2) that address common genomics research questions. His lab created Myrna, Rail-RNA, and other scalable software tools that employ the MapReduce parallel programming model and commercial cloud computing services to analyze large collections of archived sequencing data. Cross-disciplinary collaboration with biostatisticians and biologists is at the core of Langmead’s novel applications. His software tools enable scientists to easily query the huge amount of sequencing data available in public archives. These resources include recount2, a vast summary of information about how human genes are expressed from over 70,000 public sequencing datasets “spliced” into useful molecules under different conditions[SA2] , and Snaptron, a web service that makes it easy to pose queries against these summaries analogously to a Google search on the web.

Langmead, who received both the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2014, spent four years as an engineer at Reservoir Labs prior to his graduate studies. He first joined Johns Hopkins in 2009 as a Research Associate in the Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Langmead founded and organized the Genomics@JHU seminar series, which brings both junior and senior genomics researchers to speak at Johns Hopkins. He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the ACM Special Interest Group on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Biomedical Informatics, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the International Society of Computational Biology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the recipient of the 2018 Professor Joel Dean Excellence in Teaching Award in the JHU Department of Computer Science as well as the 2018 William H. Huggins Excellence in Teaching Award in the Whiting School of Engineering. In 2009, he won the Genome Biology Award for outstanding paper by the U.K.’s BioMed Central.

He is on the editorial boards of Genome Biology and the ACM Journal of Experimental Algorithmics and serves on the advisory board for Chile’s Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. A sought-after manuscript reviewer, Langmead also has served on panels for the NSF CAREER award and the III Medical Informatics & Computational Biology. In addition to numerous conference leadership roles and presentations, he currently serves on the program committee for the 2018 ACM Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

He received a B.A. in Computer Science, Phi Beta Kappa, and summa cum laude, from Columbia College, Columbia University in 2003, a M.Sc. (2009) and Ph.D. (2012) in Computer Science from The University of Maryland.