Alon Keinan, Ph.D., is a Computer Scientist whose research investigates patterns of genetic variation in human populations and translates that knowledge to study the genetic basis of complex diseases.
Dr. Keinan has been a professor of computational biology at Cornell University since 2009. He was initially the Robert N. Noyce Assistant Professor in Life Science and Technology, then an Associate Professor (with tenure) since 2014. He participates in six graduate programs and three research centers, including in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College. He has published over 80 articles in scientific journals that have been cited 37,000 times. Dr. Keinan has won prestigious awards throughout his career stages and has been awarded millions of dollars in research grant funding, most from the National Institutes of Health. (Academic CV)
Before joining Cornell University, Alon was a researcher at the Department of Genetics of Harvard Medical School and at the Broad Institute for four years, which followed a Ph.D. in Computer Science with distinction from Tel Aviv University. Towards his Ph.D., he won the Wolf Award for Ph.D. Students, the Dan David Prize scholarship, and the Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellowship. Concomitantly with his graduate studies, he served his mandatory military service in an R&D unit of the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. As a project manager in the unit, he led the development of a knowledge management system for the intelligence community, and he later served as Chief R&D Officer.
Alon’s research is centered on computational genomics, at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and genetics. He brings together his education and experience in these fields, together with years of experience in data science, to address research questions in human population genetics, statistical medical genetics, and nutrigenomics. The overarching aim of his research is improving the search for complex disease genes by first obtaining new insight into how historical events and natural selection have shaped the genetics of human populations.
In carrying out his research agenda, Alon leads the Computational Genomics Laboratory, whose members come from varied backgrounds, including computer science, statistics, genetics, genomics, mathematics, physics, and anthropology. The multidisciplinary nature of the lab enables the collaborative development of computational and statistical methods, their efficient application to big data, as well as the interpretation of discoveries.
Alon provides consulting and freelance services to companies in the fields of his expertise surrounding computational genomics. Services focus on the areas of sequencing technology and its interpretation in healthcare, statistical genetics, nutrigenomics, and personal genomics, including the usage of genealogies in the era of genomics. He also participates in other enterprises in data science beyond genomics, with a deep interest in deep learning.
Alon is devoted to making discoveries that can improve health, especially by closing the gender and racial gaps in diagnosis and treatment. He is also eager to mentor young researchers in obtaining and navigating an academic position.