Donnelly Student Profile Series - Oren Kraus

Recent advances in large-scale functional genomic and proteomic approaches have flooded databases around the world with more data than scientists can process and understand. The demand for computational expertise is critical if scientists are to unravel how each and every gene functions and how gene function translates into the processes of life.

In the pursuit of his PhD degree, Oren Kraus is determined to leave a footprint in the computational landscape that is central to genome biology. Oren’s education is rooted in mechanical engineering but he has always had a strong passion for biology and in recent years, has been applying cutting-edge engineering research to biology-focused problems.

Oren is developing the computational tools required to analyze the millions of cell images being produced at the Donnelly Centre by biologists who are using state-of-the-art microscopes and robotics to conduct large-scale experiments. Oren’s software automates the approach of finding cells in each image and identifying specific regions like the nucleus, cytoplasm and structures required for cell division. The identified cells are then compared using cutting-edge machine vision techniques. Oren uses sophisticated principles like machine learning and complex algorithms that are foreign to the average biologist.

At the Donnelly Centre, Oren’s research is co-supervised by Drs. Brendan Frey, Brenda Andrews and Charlie Boone. This organizational structure allows him mentorship from the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Molecular Genetics.

"The Donnelly Centre makes it possible for projects like mine to exist. Barriers between traditional disciplines are broken, allowing collaboration and sharing of students across different departments and faculties." Oren Kraus