Steven Salzberg is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics and the Director of the Center for Computational Biology in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. From 2005-2011, he was the Director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) and the Horvitz Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. From 1997-2005 he was Senior Director of Bioinformatics at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Maryland, one of the world's leading DNA sequencing centers at the time. Prior to that, from 1989-97 he was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Salzberg received his B.A. degree in English and M.S. and M.Phil. degrees in Computer Science from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University.
Before switching to genomics and bioinformatics, Dr. Salzberg's research focused on machine learning and its applications to fields ranging from astronomy to molecular biology. His interest in the human genome project motivated him to develop one of the first computational gene-finding systems for the human genome in the early 1990s. His work at TIGR in the 1990's led to the development of the Glimmer gene finder, which has been used in the analysis of thousands of bacterial, archaeal, and viral genomes, including Borrelia burgdorferi (the Lyme disease bacterium), Treponema pallidum (the syphilis bacterium), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Vibrio cholerae, Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), and many others. He and his lab developed eukaryotic gene finders the human genome, for plants including rice and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and for pathogens such as Plasmodium falciparum, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Brugia malayi.
Also while at TIGR, Salzberg co-founded the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, the first large-scale genomics study of human and avian influenza viruses. He also led the team that analyzed the genome of the anthrax bacteria used in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
In recent years, Salzberg's lab has focused on next-generation sequence alignment
and large-scale genome assembly. They have assembled hundreds of genomes, large and small, and
developed several widely-used assembly algorithms. Beginning in 2009, Salzberg and his students
introduced several pioneering, highly efficient systems for analysis of
next-generation sequencing reads,
including the Bowtie, Tophat, and Cufflinks systems, which are
now used by thousands of labs around the world.
All of the group's
software is free and open source, and their systems have
been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.
Dr. Salzberg has authored or co-authored over 250 scientific publications
that have garnered over 150,000 citations, and his h-index is 130. He is a member
of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
a Fellow of
the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the
International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), and a member of
the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for
Biotechnology Information at NIH. He was the 2013 winner of the
Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences. In
2001, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 he was selected by Thomson
Reuters/Clarivate Analytics as a Highly Cited Researcher, a
compilation of the 1% most-cited researchers in the world. He also
writes a widely-read column
at Forbes that focuses on science and pseudoscience.