Dordt College News

Dordt statistics professor awarded $195K in grants

November 21, 2011

How would scientific research improve if geneticists from across the globe were able to easily share and view findings and data from the others in their field? This is the driving question behind the Department of Energy’s (DOE) decision to commission a Systems Biology Knowledgebase. This system would mine the mountain of growing data and organize it in a meaningful and useful way, allowing researchers to learn from each other’s data.

Dordt College statistics professor Dr. Nathan Tintle has been awarded two grants that will support his ongoing work on this project. Tintle was awarded a five-year grant of $169,000 from the Department of Energy (DOE) and a one-year $26,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct work at Dordt College that will be part of the larger collaborative effort that included Tintle’s close collaborators Drs. Matt DeJongh and Aaron Best at Hope College.

Tintle’s expertise as a statistician allows him to help build an infrastructure that will measure and integrate data. The DOE believes the Knowledgebase will accelerate discovery and find and connect the dots between researchers’ data.

“The idea is that when we integrate all this data, we can look at it from a system’s perspective,” said Tintle. “So my role is, rather than digging into the details, to create systems that allow us to take a step back from the details and draw broad conclusions.”

In addition, Tintle is looking to determine and recommend more cost-effective approaches for gathering and analyzing the information and to develop free web-based tools for those conducting and analyzing such studies.

Along with a team of researchers, Tintle has recently published a paper titled “Inference of transcriptional regulatory network in Staphylococcus aureus by integration of experimental and genomics-based evidence” in the Journal of Bacteriology. The paper provides a first look at the gene regulatory network in Staphylococcus aureus and serves as an initial example of the types of conclusions that can be drawn using a tool like Knowledgebase.

This is Tintle’s first year as a member of Dordt College’s mathematics department where he is associate professor of statistics. Tintle received his B.S. in mathematics and his M.S. and Ph.D. in statistics, all from the State University of New York. He was recently elected to a committee position in the Section for Statistics Education of the American Statistical Association. He will serve from January 2012 to December 2014.

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