Visualizing Biological Data

Miriah Meyer, Harvard

Visualization tools are essential for deriving meaning from the avalanche of data we are generating today. To facilitate an understanding of the complex relationships embedded in this data, visualization research leverages the power of the human perceptual and cognitive systems, encoding meaning through images and enabling exploration through human-computer interactions. In my research I design visualization systems that support exploratory, complex data analysis tasks by biologists who are analyzing large amounts of heterogeneous data. These systems allow users to validate their computational models, to understand their underlying data in detail, and to develop new hypotheses and insights. My research process includes five distinct stages, from targeting a specific group of domain experts and their scientific goals through validating the efficacy of the visualization system. In this talk I’ll describe a user-centered, methodological approach to designing and developing visualization tools and present several successful visualization projects in the areas of genomics and systems biology. I will also discuss the long term implications

Speaker Biography

Miriah is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and a visiting scientist at the Broad Institute. She obtained her bachelors degree in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, and earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah where she worked in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute. Miriah is the recipient of a NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellow Award for her work on collaboratively designing visualization tools for biological data. She was also awarded an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship that landed her a stint as a science writer for the Chicago Tribune. At the Broad Institute she is a cofounder of the Data Visualization Initiative.