Ben J. Ward

Postdoctoral Researcher, Earlham Institute
BioJulia: Co-Founder, Admin, Maintainer


My research interests are in Evolutionary and Population Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics. I also have interests in developing open source software and tools for biologists.

During my PhD with the UEA and The Sainsbury Laboratory on Evolutionary Genetics, I studied how micro-organisms like plant pathogens and polar diatoms, have evolved to adapt to their dynamic, complex, and sometimes extreme environments. In particular, I focused on the roles of hybridisation and recombination, and their effects on the genome, and worked towards the development of software for detecting signatures of hybridisation in genomes, and estimate when in the past hybridisation occurred.

Since working at the Earlham Institute I have worked on Genome Wide Association in Wheat, and have analysed several mouse species for evidence of hybridisation and recombination. I co-founded and maintain the BioJulia organisation, dedicated to creating a new open community, framework, and infrastructure for bioinformatics and computational biology, for the high performance Julia programming language for technical computing.

Currently I work in algorithms development at EI, in the field of genome assembly and variation analysis. Outcomes of this work will be contributed to BioJulia, including high performance data structures and algorithms for computing with genetic polymorphism and population genomic datasets, as well as moving towards tools for reference-less based bioinformatics in the pan genomic era of genomics.