Sean Mooney, PhD, Joins Buck Faculty

Appointment highlights emphasis on bioinformatics and collaborative research

Sean Mooney, PhD, has joined the faculty at the Buck Institute for Age Research as an associate professor and director of the bioinformatics core. He will continue his own work developing and applying methods in computational biology and bioinformatics to predict and treat the molecular causes of genetic diseases.  Mooney will also work closely with other Buck faculty to manage, analyze and generate hypotheses from the massive amounts of data generated from the 15  labs now active at the Institute.

Bioinformatics typically refers to the field concerned with the collection, storage, analysis and dissemination of biological information. Computational biology involves developing algorithms and statistical models necessary to analyze biological data through the aid of computers.   Mooney looks forward to applying these methods to the field of age research.   “Aging involves a myriad of genetic changes that impact molecular function,” said Mooney. “There is much to be gained from a detailed understanding of these factors. My goal is to translate that information into insights into human aging and age-related disease,” Mooney said.

Mooney was most recently an assistant professor of medical and molecular genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He and his colleagues in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics developed and launched Laboratree, a web-based collaboration and research management tool for scientists based on social networking.  “The science at the Buck Institute is very strong,” said Mooney, who is bringing five people from his Indiana laboratory to the Buck’s Novato campus.  “I am very excited to work with scientists from other disciplines who share a common interest in aging and disease,” Mooney said.

“We are very pleased to welcome Sean Mooney to the Buck Institute,” said David Greenberg, MD, PhD, Vice President of Special Research Programs at the Buck Institute.  “His own work involving understanding the underlying mechanisms of cancer using tumor sequence data will be a valuable addition to our own cancer research”.  Greenberg added, “Sean will also play a crucial role in optimizing the work underway in our geroscience program.” Geroscience focuses on the intersection of normal aging and age-related disease. Geroscience at the Buck Institute includes molecular genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, chemical biology, cancer biology, Alzheimer’s disease research, endocrinology, invertebrate aging, nutrition, bioenergetics, Parkinson’s disease research, molecular epidemiology, Huntington’s disease research, ischemia (stroke), proteomics, human embryonic stem cells, genomic stability and statistics.

Mooney received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California San Francisco. He co-directed the Indiana University School of Medicine Bioinformatics Core, and he was also an associate member of the Indiana University Cancer Center. Prior to his appointments at Indiana University, Mooney was an American Cancer Society John Peter Hoffman Fellow at Stanford University in the Department of Genetics and Medical Informatics.

About the Buck Institute:
The Buck Institute is the only freestanding institute in the United States that is devoted solely to basic research on aging and age-associated disease. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthspan, the healthy years of each individual’s life.  The National Institute of Aging designated the Buck a “Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging,” one of just five centers in the country.  Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cancer and stroke.  Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by new developments in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics technology.

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