Marylyn Ritchie, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the Center for Systems Genomics at Penn State, has been selected as a 2013 Kavli Fellow and has been invited to serve as a member of the organizing committee for the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium. This is the third time Ritchie has received Kavli honors. In 2011, she was selected as a Kavli fellow and as a general participant for the Kavli Frontiers of Science Indonesian-American symposium. In 2012 and in 2013, she was selected as a Kavli fellow and was invited as a member of the organizing committee of the Indonesian-American symposium.
The Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium is jointly sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The Kavli Foundation. It brings together young scientists "to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in their fields in a format that encourages informal collective, as well as one-on-one, discussions among participants."
Ritchie's research focuses on identifying and analyzing genes that may increase susceptibility to common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. To determine how such genes might influence disease susceptibility, Ritchie uses a variety of approaches that span the fields of biology, genetics, and statistics. One of her primary approaches is to develop studies to detect interactions between genes, and to design and apply new statistical and computational methods to analyze data associated with such interactions. In addition, she explores possible interactions between genes and the environment, and studies how these interactions might increase disease susceptibility.
Before joining Penn State's Eberly College of Science, Ritchie was an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, she also served as an investigator in the Center for Human Genetics Research, where she directed the Computational Genomics Core and the Program in Computational Genomics. In addition, she has served as a consultant for Boehringer-Ingelheim, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies.
Ritchie has received many honors throughout her career. In 2010, she was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship, and in 2006, she received a Rising Young Investigator Award from the journal Genome Technology. In addition, she won a Best Paper Award at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in 2004. She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Human Genetics, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Human Molecular Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Plos Genetics. She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Human Genetics and the American Statistical Association.
Ritchie received a doctoral degree in statistical genetics and a master's degree in applied statistics from Vanderbilt University in 2004 and 2002, respectively. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999.