Distinguished Lecture at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, March 2018
Abstract. While some experimental biologists view bioinformatics as a servant, I argue that it is rapidly turning into the queen of molecular biology. I will illustrate this view by showing how some recent computational developments brought down biological dogmas that remained unchallenged for at least three decades. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss a century-old dogma about the traditional classroom and describe the recent efforts to repudiate it using Intelligent Tutoring Systems. I will describe a new educational technology called a Massive Adaptive Interactive Text (MAIT) that can prevent individual learning breakdowns and outperform a professor in a classroom. I will argue that computer science is a unique discipline where the transition to MAITs is about to happen and will describe a bioinformatics MAIT that has already outperformed me. In difference from existing Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), MAITs will capture digitized individual learning paths of all students and will transform educational psychology into a digital science. I will argue that the future MAIT revolution will profoundly affect the way we all teach and will generate large population-wide datasets containing individual learning paths through various MAITs.
ACM Kanellakis Award (Association for Computing Machinery Award Banquet) San Francisco, June 2019

Bioinformatics: a Servant or the Queen of Molecular Biology?
Senior Scientist Award Lecture, International Society for Computational Biology, Prague, July 2017

Estimating Metagenome Diversity.
University of California Los Angeles,  2018.

Abstract. Although reduced microbiome diversity has been linked to various diseases, estimating the diversity of bacterial communities (the number and the total length of distinct genomes within a metagenome) remains an open problem in microbial ecology. I describe the first analysis of microbial diversity using long reads without any assumption on the frequencies of genomes within a metagenome and without requiring a large database that covers the total diversity.

Fundamental Algorithms in Deep Sequencing: Assembly
Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, University of California, Berkeley, January 2016

Abstract. Deep sequencing has become ubiquitous in genomics research due to plummeting costs and massive data volumes. However, it raises formidable algorithmic challenges. In this first mini course, a flipped class, we will learn how graph theory can be used to assemble genomes and will review the recent advances in DNA sequencing. To prepare for the class, students will be provided with an opportunity to enroll in the short Genome Sequencing MOOC on Coursera before the class starts. Instead of lecturing in the class, the instructor will interact with students to answer their questions about the material and the recent trends in genome assembly

Genome Assembly from Single Cells. Distinguished Lecture at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, April 2015

Abstract. The lion's share of bacteria in various environments cannot be cloned in the laboratory and thus cannot be sequenced using existing technologies. A goal of single-cell genomics (SCG) is to complement gene-centric metagenomic data with whole-genome assemblies of uncultivated organisms. Assembly of SCG data is challenging because of highly non-uniform read coverage and highly elevated levels of chimeric reads/read-pairs. We describe SPAdes, an assembler for both SCG and standard (multicell) assembly that incorporates a number of new algorithmic ideas. We demonstrate that recently developed single-cell assemblers not only enable single-cell sequencing, but also improve on conventional assemblers on their own turf. We further describe (i) TrueSPAdes that assembles accurate and long (10Kb) reads generated by the recently released Illumina TrueSeq technology, (ii) transSPAdes for transcriptome assembly, and  (iii) dipSPAdes for assembling highly polymorphic diploid genomes. Finally, we show that the de Bruijn graph assembly approach is well suited to assembling long and highly inaccurate SMRT reads generated by Pacific Biosciences.

Technology-Enhanced Education at UC San Diego, La Jolla, California ​May 2014

Birth and Death of Fragile Chromosomal Regions in Mammalian Evolution
Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, University of California, Berkeley, March 2014

Abstract. A fundamental question in chromosome evolution is whether there exist fragile regions (rearrangement hotspots) where chromosomal rearrangements are happening over and over again. We demonstrate that the fragile regions do exist and further show that they are subject to a ``birth and death'' process, implying that fragility has limited evolutionary lifespan. To establish this biological result we will prove some theorems about the breakpoint graphs, the workhorse of genome rearrangement studies.  We further illustrate that both breakpoint graphs and de Bruijn graphs are special cases of a more general notion of A-Bruijn graphs that found many applications in computational biology.

Commencement Speech and the Honorary Degree Award Ceremony
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, 2013 

Genome Assembly and Seven Bridges of Konigsberg (Part 1  Part2) Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia), 2013  

Personalized Genomics: From Experimental to Computational Problems. Lectorium. Moscow. Russia. September 2012 (in Russian)

Genome Rearrangements: from Biological Problems to Combinatorial Algorithms (and back).
Steklov Mathematical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg, Russia, May 2011 (in Russian)

Genome Rearrangements: from Biological Problems to Combinatorial Algorithms (and back). 
Saint Petersburg Computer Science Club. Saint Petersburg, Russia, December 2010 (in Russian)

De Novo Sequencing with Short Reads: Does the Read Length Matter? Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California, 2009

UCSD Faculty Excellence Award, La Jolla, California, 2007

Panel Discussion on Information Theory. Information Theory and Applications Conference, La Jolla, California, April 2006

Gene Hunting Without Genome Sequencing: the Twenty Questions Game with Genes.  
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, California, May 1998.