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Peter Koo wants to understand how machines learn biology

Peter Koo
Peter Koo

The science world is sitting at the cusp of an artificial intelligence revolution that impacts applications such as speech recognition and computer vision. Peter Koo is on the front line of those changes. As Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s new Assistant Professor at the Simons Center for Quantitative Biology, Koo will explore how AI integrates with biology and genomics.

Koo’s background is as varied as it is impressive. He completed his Ph.D. in physics at Yale University and transitioned into genomics and computational biology for his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Along the way, he earned a Master’s in Financial Engineering at University of California, Berkeley, and had worked as a summer research fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a communications specialist in the United States Army Reserve.

During his postdoc, Koo interpreted how deep learning models learn and ways researchers can glean new scientific insights from that information. He’s continuing those investigations at CSHL, where he’ll use the models to understand the functional consequences of genomic mutations. Currently, he’s studying how RNA-binding protein interacts with RNA.

Koo is excited about the prospect of potential collaborations, especially with Justin Kinney and David McCandlish, two of his colleagues at the Simons Center.

“We have in place already various people that are interested in similar problems,” he said. “But we’re all approaching it from slightly different angles.”

Written by: Charlotte Hu, Content Developer/Communicator | chhu@cshl.edu | 516-367-5940