After getting her M.S. in computer science and Ph.D. in mathematics at Stanford University in 1989, Dr. Leung joined The University of Texas at San Antonio as assistant professor and became associate professor with tenure in 1993. During that year, she was also NSF research fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and later in 2001, she spent a year at Rice University. In 2003, Dr. Leung came to The University of Texas at El Paso as tenured professor of mathematics and director of bioinformatics. In 2013, she was also appointed as director of computational science.


In 2010, she served as a review panelist for the Research Competitiveness Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and she was then invited to chair the session on Computational Methods in Biomolecular and Phylogenetic Analyses, International Federation of Operational Research Societies Conference 2011, Melbourne, Australia, the Advancing Computational Science at MSIs Workshop 2014 in Washington, DC, and the International Workshop on Applied Probability 2016 in Toronto, Canada.


Dr. Leung's interests in mathematics started at an early age and she was especially fascinated by the occurrences of symmetrical objects. An image palindrome shown below was created with the right half being an inverted copy of the left. In nature, we could find many of these around us, but mostly not exact mirror images of each other. We might call these inversions with errors and their occurrences seemed not random at all, but not surprising if duplication had been the main driving force behind the changes. Ironically, we also found clusters of these inversions along the molecular sequences of our genes. Many of these clusters turned out to be protein binding sites crucial for gene regulation.


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