Fred Wright joined North Carolina State University in August 2013 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Bioinformatics, and Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Biological Sciences. Wright is an internationally-known statistical geneticist, with wide-ranging interests including genomic bioinformatics, toxicogenomics, and the statistical principles underlying high-dimensional data analysis. Wright was recruited to be the new Director of the Bioinformatics Research Center (BRC), which has a strong history of research and training in statistical, evolutionary, and computational methods applied to a variety of genomic problems. Bioinformatics and computation have become central to much of biology, and Wright will lead the expansion of the BRC’s focus to additional cross-cutting activities in human health and complex systems, while retaining the longstanding strengths of the BRC.
Prior to joining NCSU, Wright was a Professor of Biostatistics at UNC Chapel Hill and member of the Lineberger Cancer Center and Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. He has been principal investigator of numerous grants, with activities ranging from development of new methods of gene mapping to expression-quantitative trait (eQTL) mapping for multiple tissues. He was also principal investigator of an EPA-funded STAR Center to apply genomics principles to long-standing problems in toxicology. Wright is one of the lead investigators in the International Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Modifier Consortium, seeking to unravel the unexpected complexities of this disease, which was once thought to be “simple” in its underlying genetics. While at UNC, Wright fostered the development of a new statistical genetics curriculum, producing one of the most varied and rigorous programs among departments of Biostatistics. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Delta Omega Honor society for Public Health. He received a B.A. in Statistics and Psychology from the University at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Chicago.