Recent Musings

Things have shaken up in my life. I’m starting anew research-wise, and for the past 6 months, I’ve been studying influenza rather than synthetic biology. Most grad students would consider that a major setback, and for others, it’d be a sign of failure. I choose to see it as an opportunity to pivot, try something new, and try again. And an opportunity to capitalize on one of my skills – programming – that’s been urging for an outlet.

I’m now doing influenza research under Prof. Jonathan A. Runstadler. I’ve “evolved” my way into a computational role, and I’m now doing a lot of statistics, phylogenetic analysis, and sequence mining. I’m still looking for a way to incorporate my previous synthetic biology training – something along the lines of automated cloning for rescuing viruses? The idea is still in its infancy, as I have devoted my time to other research topics that involve sequence manipulation. One, which I’m quite excited for as I came up with the method while working with my colleague Nichola on her data set, is the use of epidemiology methods to interrogate viral ecology and to identify reassortant viruses. Another is the computational reconstruction of the viral packaging network using an RNA-RNA hybridization model, and testing that to see if it’s a good model, and to see if it fits known data.

Alrighty, enough about research here.

Recently, iOS 7 was released as well. I’ve seen lots of complaints on comments and forums that it slows the iPhone 4 way too much. One thing I have done to alleviate the problem is to completely wipe my phone and re-install only the essential apps that I use. iOS 7 is now snappy, as opposed to what it was like before (while I was still on the beta and on GM). I wish there were some way I could monitor app usage, so that I can delete apps that I don’t use on a frequent basis, though.