Dr Emma Huang is a reseaarch scientist with CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences
Dr Emma Huang: exploring complex plant genetics with statistics
Dr Emma Huang is a Research Scientist with CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics, working in the area of statistical bioinformatics for agribusiness.
2 July 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011
Dr Emma Huang develops methods for statistical genetics in polyploids, organisms that contains more than two sets of chromosomes. Statistical genetics applies the principles of statistics to problems in genetics, such as the inheritance and effects of genes in populations.
Humans, who have two sets of chromosomes, are diploid. Polyploidy is quite common in plants, and many cultivated plants, such as wheat and sugarcane, are polyploid. Understanding their complex genetics helps crop breeders select for economically important features like sweetness or drought resistance.
Dr Huang develops methods for statistical genetics in polyploids, organisms that contains more than two sets of chromosomes such as wheat and sugarcane.
Dr Huang's role is to identify features of current methods in statistical genetics which could be improved by more accurately accounting for polyploidy, generalise existing methods where possible and if necessary, create entirely new ones.
Dr Huang has been involved in several projects, including:
developing new methods for quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in polyploids, with the eventual goal being to improve selection of markers for breeding. QTL analysis is used to identify associations between DNA markers and quantitative traits, such as disease resistance or yield
association mapping in sugarcane, aiming to improve upon current single genetic marker analysis strategies by accounting for population structure and multiple markers simultaneously. In association mapping, researchers seek to identify regions of the genome which are conserved among individuals that display similar traits, such as disease resistance.
Dr Huang joined CSIRO in 2007 after completing her Doctor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, United States of America (USA).
Her dissertation research focused on association mapping in humans for a variety of study designs, taking into account all aspects of association studies ranging from the initial study design to dealing with missing data to the final analysis.
Dr Huang has been awarded a:
Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology, USA, 2002
Doctor of Philosophy in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina, 2007.
Dr Huang has been awarded:
an International Science Linkages grant for 2010-11 from the Australian Academy of Science
the International Biometric Society Eastern North American Region Distinguished Student Paper Award in 2007
the USA National Cancer Institute Training Grant in Cancer and Genomics in 2004
the Gertrude Cox Scholarship from the American Statistical Association in 2003.
Dr Huang has also presented her research as an invited speaker at the
Bioinformatics Institute, Singapore
Purdue University, USA
Kansas State University, USA
Medical College of Wisconsin, USA
International Chinese Statistical Association meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Read more about our work in Statistical bioinformatics for agribusiness.