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, studies and applies ideas from sequence alignment, text indexing, statistics, and high performance computing to create open-source 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 recount3, Snaptron, and other resources and tools that make it easy to query large collections of archived sequencing datasets. His group’s software tools and resources have been cited tens of thousands of times according to Google Scholar.
Langmead, who received both the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and the 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 has also served on panels for the NSF CAREER award and the III Medical Informatics & Computational Biology. Since 2022, he is a standing member of the Biodata Management and Analysis (BDMA) Study Section at the National Institutes of Health. In addition to numerous conference leadership roles and presentations, he has served on the RECOMB and ISMB program committees and has chaired the program committee for the RECOMB Satellite Workshop on Massively Parallel Sequencing (RECOMB-seq).
He received a bachelor’s in computer science, Phi Beta Kappa, and summa cum laude, from Columbia College, Columbia University in 2003, a master’s (2009) and a doctorate (2012) in computer science from the University of Maryland.
Secondary Appointments: Joint appointment in Biostatistics, Preceptor in the Department of Genetic Medicine