I was born to an Arab (Palestinian), Christian (Roman Catholic), Israeli family in 1974. To add to the complexity, I married a Japanese woman (and we have two children, Brooke and Dylan; don't know yet how confused they are about their ancestry!). I came to the United States in 1997, and I am currently a citizen of the United States. I received a BSc degree in Computer Science from the Technion (Israel) in 1996, a Master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 1998, and a PhD degree in Computer Science from UT Austin in May 2004 (Advisor: Prof. Tandy Warnow). While at UT Austin, I received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the Bert Kay Dissertation Award, the Texas Excellence Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.
I joined the Computer Science department at Rice University as an Assistant Professor in July 2004, and was promoted to Associate Professor, with tenure, effective July 2010. While at Rice, I received the DOE CAREER award in 2006, the NSF CAREER award in 2009, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching award in 2009, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2010 (in the Molecular Biology category), and a John P. Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2012 (in the Organismic Biology and Ecology category).
I enjoy doing research on topics related to evolution, and to me, evolution explains all biodiversity on Earth (that is, there is no need to invoke a god). To read more about my research, including my group members, publications, and support, click on the bioinformatics group and historical linguistics links on the right. I also enjoy teaching; click on the teaching link on the right for the courses I have taught. I am an undergraduate advisor; the link on the right has a collection of useful material for undergraduates.
For my up-to-date CV, click here.
6100 Main Street, MS 132
Houston, TX 77005, USA.
(office) Duncan Hall 3119
(phone) 713 348 3959
(fax) 713 348 5930