Sean D. Mooney, PhD, Associate Professor
Using computers to enable the next generation of biomedical research
Dr. Mooney amplifies the knowledge reaped from studies on disease by using sophisticated methods of computer analysis to identify possible causes of illness. His research focuses on diseases caused by genetic mutations, which include cancer. Dr. Mooney’s computer expertise also enhances the work of the other faculty laboratories at the Buck Institute. Biomedical research labs now generate reams of data very quickly, because automated laboratory tools can carry out hundreds of experiments in days rather than months or years. Dr. Mooney, as director of the Buck’s Bioinformatics Core, helps his colleagues capture, store, and analyze this deluge of data. He is also helping to prove that computers can go well beyond organizing data so that scientists can use them to propose theories of disease mechanism. Dr. Mooney is refining methods that empower computers to form hypotheses about the underlying origins of genetic illness. His team has programmed computers to predict which mutations in the DNA sequence will lead to significant malfunctions in humans, and which mutations are probably not prime movers in disease. The computers use statistics to generate a model of the structure and function that would result from each mutation. Such work could speed the discovery of diagnostic tests and therapies for inherited illnesses.
Dr. Mooney received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California San Francisco. At Stanford University, he was an American Cancer Society John Peter Hoffman Fellow in the Department of Genetics and Medical Informatics. Dr. Mooney was then appointed an Assistant Professor in Medical and Molecular Genetics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he co-directed the Bioinformatics Core. He joined the Buck Institute in 2009.
Dr. Mooney welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:
Bioinformatics and biomedical research, personalized medicine.
“Bioinformatics drives the new field of personalized medicine, whereby vast amounts of genetic data from large populations can be used to pinpoint diagnosis and optimal treatments for individuals. Our goal is to bring the power of bioinformatics to bear on efforts to extend healthspan.”
- Sean D. Mooney, PhD