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Garrett Dancik - Professor, Computer Science

Ph.D., Iowa State University


Garrett Dancik

Professor Garrett Dancik was instrumental in launching Eastern’s Bioinformatics minor His recent research focus has included analyzing gene expression data and identifying prognostic tumor biomarkers. These large genomic datasets have important applications in personalized medicine and cancer detection. Dr. Dancik is also a member of the faculty for the data science major and program coordinator of the master’s degree in applied data science.

In his research, Dancik dedicates much of his work to developing new and useful bioinformatics tools to streamline the genomic analysis process for researchers. He is the creator of “BC-BET”, a web application and database for the evaluation of biomarkers in bladder cancer, and of “shinyGEO,” a tool he developed to help biologists analyze genomic data to better understand genetic diseases like cancer, as well as the genetics of normal growth and development.

The human genome is three billion characters long and contains around 20,000 protein-coding genes. Biologists need a computer to facilitate the process because of the amount of data involved in this type of genomic research. One of the largest repositories of genomic data is the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO). Dancik’s “shinyGEO” takes the GEO data of interest to researchers, analyzes it and presents it back to them in an easily understood format. “There’s an enormous amount of data available; the bottleneck is just being able to analyze it all,” he said.

“I think genomic analysis will eventually become part of the process when someone is diagnosed with cancer. In fact, guidelines already recommend genomic sequencing for several cancers. This is important because the information in the genome of the tumor will provide all sorts of information about the cancer, including what might be the best possible treatment for the individual,” he added. “That’s where bioinformatics comes in. The analysis is a complicated and involved process, but it’s a very fascinating one.”

Dr. Dancik earned an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and computational biology from Iowa State University.

Professor Dancik has dedicated much of his work to teaching and developing courses in computer science, data science and bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary field that uses computational and mathematical tools to organize and analyze biological data.

Garrett Dancik posing for a photo

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Thanks for helping people when they needed help cause not many professors do that which is cool.
Student Quote
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