Computational Biology

olivier.gascuel [at]

Olivier Gascuel

Short bio

Research Director at CNRS (ISYEB – Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle). Head of the Department of Computational Biology at Institut Pasteur (2015-2020). Associate Editor of Systematic Biology. Fast Breaking Paper 2005 and Current Classic in Environment and Ecology from 2007 to 2011 (most cited paper in the field, Science Watch – Thomson Reuters). Silver Medal in Computer Science of the CNRS, 2009. Grand Prix Inria – Académie des Sciences for Numerical Sciences, 2017.

Topics of interest

Computational biology, genomics, evolution, pathogens

Project in Prairie

Olivier Gascuel’s research will focus on the analysis of genomic data. Modeling, statistical/deep learning and algorithmics will be combined to take advantage of the evolutionary relationships among sequences and solve key questions on the function of pathogenic genes, the emergence of drug resistances, and the dynamics of epidemics. He will develop interdisciplinary courses intended to a wide audience.


The amount of genomic data is increasing exponentially rate. These data contain a wealth of information on diseases, biodiversity, and many other important societal issues. The analysis of these data imposes constantly renewed challenges, on the algorithmic level and that of modeling. We are helped in this task by the traces left by evolution in the genes and genomes of species, as predicted by Theodosius Dobzhansky in his famous sentence “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973). Evolutionary approaches combined with the latest advances in AI, especially deep learning, will be key to harnessing today’s and tomorrow’s genomic data, and solving key questions in biology and health.