Senior Research Associate
Panzea Project Manager
175 Biotechnology Building
Ithaca, NY 14853
I am a Senior Research Associate and the Project Manager of Panzea - the NSF Maize Diversity Project.
Bioinformatics, population genetics, conservation genetics, computer programming (Java, Perl, C++), Monte Carlo simulation modeling, randomization tests, coalescent theory and modeling, statistical genetics, genetic linkage mapping and QTL detection, association mapping, molecular breeding.
I have two main areas of responsibility: (1) project management and (2) bioinformatics.
On the project management side, I author the annual project report, project poster, and two-page project update for the annual Plant Genome Research Program meeting. In addition, I manage and distribute project data, help maintain the project web site, and field inquiries from the community. I also advise our able Administrative Assistant, Sara Miller on the organization of a weekly, web-hosted meeting involving all project participants, running a Panzea Journal Club, and maintenance of the internal Panzea wiki. Finally I help organize, and contribute to, our annual Scientific Advisory Board meeting.
On the bioinformatics side, I contribute to the code base underlying our TASSEL-GBS pipeline <link to web page> for calling SNPs from Genotyping By Sequencing data, and teach at our GBS workshops. I also help with the curation, storage and retrieval of genotypes, genome annotations, and phenotypes.
Why I Became a Scientist (or ‘Why I Love My Job’)
My position as Project Manager definitely falls into the category of “Alternative Careers in Science.” I have meandered my way through Science and have ended up here, the ideal place for me. As a Canadian who loved camping, canoeing and hiking, I was initially interested in Forestry. After just barely passing my first undergraduate Genetics course, my interest was piqued and I bounced back to get a Ph.D. in Forest Genetics from UBC in Vancouver. From there I did a postdoc in Forest Population Genetics in Australia. While in Australia, I discovered my true passion for computer programming (after teaching myself C++), and realized that, rather than a visionary leader, I was very much a detail man, happier in front of a computer than in front of a classroom or boardroom. I then did a postdoc at Purdue University that mainly involved computer simulation which was great as it honed my skills and played to my strengths.
My current Project Manager position was advertised in 2009 and I seized the opportunity to follow an alternative path. Beside my project management duties, I work in Bioinformatics, which could not be a more fun way for me to make a living. I am part of an amazing (pun intended!) project, where the PIs are all visionaries and work together extremely well. Part of my job is to help implement their visions in computer code. I get to do challenging work that I love, interact with a large group of very clever, diverse, and fun people, and have the opportunity to travel and see the world via conferences and workshops.
Ph.D. in Forest Molecular Genetics 1996 University of British Columbia (Dr. John E. Carlson)
B.Sc. in Forest Science 1987 University of British Columbia