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Olgica Milenkovic

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Olgica Milenkovic received her MS in Mathematics and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2001 and 2002, respectively. From 2002 to 2006, she was with the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2007, she joined the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests are in bioinformatics, coding theory, compressive sensing and social sciences. Olgica Milenkovic is a recipient of the NSF Career Award and the DARPA Young Faculty Award. In 2012 she was named a Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) Associate, and in 2013 she received the Willett scholarship. From 2006, she served on the editorial board for the journals Transactions on Communication, Transactions on Signal Processing and Transactions on Information Theory.


"Portable and Random-Access DNA-Based Storage Systems"

Despite the many advances in traditional data recording techniques, the surge of Big Data platforms and energy conservation issues have imposed new challenges to the storage community in terms of identifying extremely high volume, non-volatile and durable recording media. To address these challenges, the new paradigm of macromolecular storage was put forward by a number of researchers. Among all macromolecules used, DNA stands out in so far that it lends itself to implementations of recoding media of outstanding integrity and extremely high storage capacity.

Building upon the rapid growth of biotechnology systems for DNA synthesis and sequencing, we developed and implemented the first portable DNA-based rewritable and random access device. Our system is based on DNA editing, new alignment algorithms and constrained and error-control coding techniques that ensure data reliability, specificity and sensitivity of access, and at the same time, provide exceptionally high data storage capacity. The coding methods used include prefix-synchronized codes, and newly introduced profile codes and mutually uncorrelated codes. As a proof of concept, we encoded in DNA parts of the Wikipedia pages of six universities in the USA and Citizen Kane images, selected specific content blocks and edited portions of the text within various positions in the blocks. We showed that error-free readouts may be achieved even with noisy nanopore MinION readout platforms.

Olgica Milenkovic