Terry Gaasterland

Photo of Terry Gaasterland
Graduation Year:
Generating Cooperative Answers in Deductive Databases


Terry Gaasterland received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Duke University. Following her studies, Gaasterland worked as a software engineer in Industrial Process Control at Texas Instruments. In 1986, Gaasterland came to the University of Maryland where she worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Computer Science. In 1988 and 1992 respectively, Gaasterland received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland under Jack Minker.

Following her professional studies, Gaasterland was named an Enrico Fermi Postdoctoral Scholar in Mathematics and Computer Science. She focused on "cooperative answering" (the concept of databases providing users with specifically tailored answers to their search queries), natural language processing, and deductive database research on the interpretation of the first three DOE-funded microbial genomes and a fourth Canadian- funded archaeal genome. Gaasterland served as a Professor and Head of Laboratory at the Rockefeller University from 1998 until 2002, where she focused on the integration of gene expression data and genome sequence data analysis in human and model eukaryotic organisms. 

While at Rockefeller University, Gaasterland built the system MAGPIE (Multipurpose Automated Genome Project Investigation Environment for Ongoing Sequencing Projects). Its goals are to analyze sequence data in real-time during and beyond the lifetime of a sequencing project and to explore how to use deductive inference and large-scale distributed data techniques to divide the results into a human-readable and- queryable form. 

From 1999 to 2003, Gaasterland received a numerous amount of honors including the Mallinkrodt Foundation Fellowship, the Sinsheimer Foundation Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award, the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, and the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering. She was also the Founding Officer of the International Society for Computational Biology and was elected as Vice President in 2006. Currently, Gaasterland designs and uses computational tools to decipher and interrogate cell systems through integrated analysis of genomic and proteinic data.