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Owen R. White, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Administrative Title:

Associate Director, Institute for Genome Sciences; Associate Director of Research Collaboration & Development in the Institute of Genome Sciences


Health Sciences Facility III, 670 West Baltimore St, Baltimore 21201

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-6751

Phone (Secondary):

(410) 706-6755


(410) 706-6756

Education and Training

University of Massachusetts, BS, Biotechnology, 1985
New Mexico State University, PhD, Molecular Biology, 1992
Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Postdoctoral Fellow, Genome Informatics, 1994


Dr. White is an internationally recognized expert in bioinformatics with more than 15 years of experience. His primary role is to enable the researchers at School of Medicine to perform state of the art genomic and transcriptomic analysis at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. He leads a group of 25 scientists and engineers at the Institute for Genome Sciences who are collectively responsible for the development of nearly all production-level annotation pipelines, database systems, and tools for automated and manual annotation of genomes and metagenomic data sets. Support for this work is dervived from a combination of fee for services with university investigators and joint research funding with other investigators. He has also obtained funding to build a number of genome analysis tools including tools to build bioinformatics pipelines, and visualization tools.

Dr. White also participates in NIH research projects that involve large scale data management and analysis across multiple institutions. For the last nine years, Dr. White has been the PI for two NIH-funded data centers: first the Data Analysis and Coordination Center for the first phase of the Human Microbiome Project and now the Data Coordination Center for the Integrative Human Microbiome Project. The long-term objective of this initiative is to develop datasets and tools that the community can use to evaluate which biological properties of the microbiome and host. So far the two efforts produced over 50,000 heterogeneous datasets for a total of 10 terabytes of multi-omic data. Dr. White also has a Common Fund Cloud Pilot supplement which currently involves placing all HMP and iHMP on the Amazon S3

Research/Clinical Keywords

Genomic, transcriptomic, multi-omic, data management, metadata, standards, ontologies, cloud systems.

Highlighted Publications

Huttenhower C, Knight R, Brown CT, Caporaso JG, Clemente JC, Gevers D, Franzosa EA, Kelley ST, Knights D, Ley RE, Mahurkar A, Ravel J, Scientists for Advancement of Microbiome R, White O. Advancing the microbiome research community. Cell. 2014;159(2):227-30. PMCID: PMC4221798 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.022.

Gevers D, Knight R, Petrosino JF, Huang K, McGuire AL, Birren BW, Nelson KE, White O, Methe BA, Huttenhower C. The Human Microbiome Project: a community resource for the healthy human microbiome. PLoS biology. 2012;10(8):e1001377. PMCID: PMC3419203 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001377.

The Integrative Human Microbiome Project: dynamic analysis of microbiome-host omics profiles during periods of human health and disease. Cell host & microbe. 2014;16(3):276-89. PMCID: PMC5109542 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2014.08.014.

Awards and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Franklin Award, for Open Access in the Life Sciences, 2015. 
  • Member, Common Fund Working Group: establishing the principles for the next generation NIH data eco-system, on-going. 
  • Expert consultant, Data Sustainability and Maintenance Workshop - Francis Collins, Chair. 2016.
  • Kumho Science International Award in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, 2001.