Dr. Gaasterland trained as a computer scientist with emphasis in databases, automated reasoning and reasoning with uncertain information.
With a Department of Energy postdoctoral fellowship, she transitioned into the application of methods in databases and AI to the interpretation and analysis of genomic sequence and gene expression data. She leads a research program aimed to develop and apply methods to identify genes and the impact of their genetic and evolutionary variation on regulation of transcription and on protein domain structure and function.
Since receiving the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) in 2000, she has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation to develop methods in computational genomics, and has participated as PI or co-PI on a series of biomedical grants from the NIH.
She is PI of NEI awards first to sequence and next to analyze variation in protein coding exons genome-wide for 300+ primary open angle glaucoma cases and controls, as a satellite project of both the NEIGHBOR Consortium at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute and the NHGRI Medical Sequencing program.
Dr. Gaasterland’s experience with genome and exome sequencing, software tools to detect horizontally transferred genes in microbes, the management and analysis of large next-generation high-throughput sequencing datasets, and the sequencing and analysis of marine microbial, eukarotic, and human genomes as well as her early career work in deductive databases is reflected in over 90 refereed publications, 79 of which are indexed in PubMed.