Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Jianye Ge, UNTHSC

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Jianye Ge


Dr. Jianye Ge is a researcher in Computational Biology and Forensic Genomics and an Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Genetics at the UNT Health Science Center, School of Biomedical Sciences for almost 8-years. Dr. Ge started his journey in China, where he received his BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Nankai University. Continuing his interest, he came to the USA to discover more state-of-the-art technologies at Ohio, where he earned his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Cincinnati. His travels continued to HSC at Fort Worth. Here, Dr. Ge has continued to advance and develop algorithms and software programs to analyze and interpret genomics data that help solve human forensics identification in active criminal and past cold cases for Federal and State agencies. 


What is your favorite aspect about your job?  
My work is able to help solve criminal cases and eventually make the world safer.

What made you decide to leave China and travel to the USA? 
I came to the USA to learn the most cutting-edge technologies.

What led you to your particular field of study/expertise?
I came to the USA after the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, and I was involved in developing and evaluating software programs for human identification after this mass disaster. That was how I got into forensics with my computer science background. 

Your career path obviously evolved after 9/11 with your involvement in developing and evaluating software programs for human forensics identification. Could you go into more detail?
I was a Ph.D. student at the University of Cincinnati starting in 2002. My Ph.D. advisor was an FBI consultant and was a member of the national DNA advisory board. One task of that board at that time was to evaluate software programs that could determine which human remains belong to which family. My advisor took the task and I did part of the evaluation. In addition, I improved the algorithm and developed my own software that could perform better than the existing software programs.

What is your favorite thing about Fort Worth?
In Fort Worth, you can experience both urban and rural styles of living. And, it has one of the largest airports in the nation. It is easy to travel anywhere.

Recently there have been many news stories across the US, that when human remains are found, DNA Doe Project has turned to UNT for answers. Does your department have any involvement with this?
The Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) is a globally-recognized leader in forensic identification. We process lots of missing persons samples, and most of the missing person DNA profiles in the FBI CODIS database are generated and uploaded by UNTCHI

How do you see your work on ‘Enhanced mixture interpretation with macrohaplotypes based on long-read DNA sequencing’ change Forensic Science? Your own research has helped elevate UNT as a Tier 1 research university, what do you see as exciting directions for the present and future impact regarding Microsatellite Repeats or even other areas of research or topics?
DNA mixture is one of the most challenging problems in forensic applications, and my research is to look for novel methods to tackle this problem. Long-read DNA sequencing is one of the most recently developed technologies, that can provide more information for better mixture interpretation, as well as many other genomics applications. I am also applying the other recent technologies, such as single-cell analysis, for the mixture problem. The outcomes of those research have been submitted for patent applications. 

What is your proudest work moment? 
My familial searching software, MPKin FS edition, has been used in many forensic labs and assisted in solving many cold cases. MPKin FS edition is a software program that can search against the DNA profiles in the DNA database to find potential relatives of the crime scene sample. 

How many software programs have you (and your team) developed that are used by the Federal and State government agencies to assist in solving criminal cases?
Four different software programs.

What is your proudest non-work moment? 
I married the most beautiful and kind woman in the world, and we together have two bright kids.

What is a fact about you that may surprise your colleagues?
My team is able to develop algorithms that outperform the mainstream software programs developed by top-tier universities. 

With all the TV shows that have popularized ‘CSI' (Crime Scene Investigations) have you watched any of these shows or avoided them? Yes, I've watched some CSI shows for fun. These TV shows may not be very accurate in terms of science and technology, but they are still valuable for letting ordinary people know about the activities related to criminal investigations. 

Favorite celebrity?
Elon Musk – innovates based on the first principle and aims to change the world.