Brad Barbazuk, PhD, is the new ICBR Bioinformatics Core Faculty Director
Brad Barbazuk, PhD, will be working alongside Bill Farmerie to lead the ICBR Bioinformatics Core into the next phase of innovative research.
Barbazuk and his team are currently working on a large scale analysis of the evolution of alternative splicing across the entire plant kingdom. “We’re looking at about 40 species that span the plant kingdom to give us a good idea of how, and which alternative splice are conserved during evolution as well as how they have changed and become acquired,” he explained.
His interest in science sparked at a young age, but it was not until mid-college while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Simon Fraser University did Barbazuk discover his passion for genetics. “It was a long process, but it was my second or third genetics course when it all started. I remember saying to myself: I just want to explore this a little more and see where it goes,” he said.
In 1997, after earning a PhD in Genetics from his alma mater, Barbazuk left Canada for the Washington University School of Medicine to complete his postdoc on the Human Genome Project. Under the supervision of Bob Waterston, M.D., PhD, Barbazuk participated in the development and implementation used to construct the human genome map.
Brabazuk credits Dr. Waterston and the Human Genome Project for allowing him to explore genomics from an angle that hadn’t been done before. “I’m proud to have been involved in genomics at the ground level, at the very beginning of it. I’ve been lucky enough to watch it mature, and it’s had a large impact on how I’ve led my research and how I frame my research questions.”
In 1999 Barbazuk joined the Monsanto Company to continue his research in computational genomics before taking a position at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where he managed a lab for four years.
He became a Gator in 2008 upon accepting the position as Assistant Professor of Biology. Since then, Barbazuk has become a member of the UF Genetics Institute Executive Committee, UF Steering Committee and has just stepped down from his role as the UF Biology Graduate Coordinator.