New Reed CompBio Blog

As part of a recently-funded collaborative REU (generously supported by the CRA-W), my colleague Derek Applewhite and I are working with undergraduates to study machine learning methods to predict genes that regulate cell movement patterns in schizophrenia.  The team will post their work on new a Reed College blog, The Pathway Not Taken, and I may re-post selected pieces here.  The first post gives a general idea of the problem we will work on, and how biology and computer science are intertwined in the project.

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Summer Reading List

For the first time in years, I’m making an effort to read some books for fun this summer.  I even made a list! There’s a theme, though – I might throw in a mystery novel for good measure.

  1. The Gene: an Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  This book, by the author of The Emperor of all Maladies (which I wrote a bit about in an earlier post), is a detailed history of genes – from initial theories to current events. image from Google Books.
  2. Inventing the Mathematician: Gender, Race, and Our Cultural Understanding of Mathematics by Sara N. Hottinger.  The author is a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies.  I first of her book after reading her piece on the Inside Higher Ed blog, where she described why she decided to pursue a degree in feminist studies despite her passion and aptitude for mathematics. inventingbook
  3. The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World by Scott Hartley.  The author is a venture capitalist who writes about a new generation of entrepreneurs with a mix of STEM and liberal arts training.  fuzzy

 

Congratulations Seniors

It’s been a long while since I posted, so I figured it’s appropriate to resume this blog by congratulating all the seniors at Reed who have labored over their theses throughout the year.  Now, they will ceremoniously burn all their drafts this afternoon at the bonfire.  Happy Renn Fayre!

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Spotted outside my office door in the Biology building.

Ready, Set, Year Two

I have returned from summer break to begin teaching a new course this fall.  My break  included a hiatus in blog posts; now that classes have started up, I’m back to writing them.  Other lessons from my first true “summer break:”

  1. Yep, I still love research. Summer was a refreshing change of pace, where I was able to chip away at existing research projects and establish new collaborations here in Portland.
  2. Pacific Northwest summer weather is great.  No humidity + few bugs. I didn’t think that was possible.
  3. Feelings of preparedness are relative.  Despite having a year under my belt, there are enough new tasks and responsibilities that I still feel like a newbie.

Happy back-to-school for those who live by the academic calendar, and welcome to the Reed Class of 2020.

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The Class of 2020 at Reed College’s Convocation.  Photo by Leah Nash.

 

Spotted in the Lab

This is the last week of classes.  Reed seniors are finalizing their theses — a culmination of their year-long projects — before sending them off to faculty readers.  As we near the end, my computational biology lab has a new round of students working night and day.  Don’t worry, though – Monty the Motivation Whale is there for you.

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Monty’s appearance might be due to the fact that one of the Reed seniors is a lead scientist at the Orca Behavior Institute, a non-profit he started in 2015.