Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Cisco Research Chair in Bioinformatics
Faculty, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
Faculty, Bachelor – Master Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization Program
Faculty, McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research
I am Canadian citizen with a 10 year research career in the United States, including postdoctoral experience at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and faculty positions at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA) and Brown University, where I established an active research program in Global Infectious Disease with funding from NIH/NIAID and the Ellison Medical Foundation. For 2006-2014, I had my own bioinformatics company in Canada, where I acted as a consultant and collaborator in functional genomics and bioinformatics for researchers in academia and government.
My career path has been less than ordinary, often sitting at the intersection of academia, government, and industry. The Cisco Research Chair in Bioinformatics at McMaster provides an unparalleled opportunity to continue working in this middle ground while expanding my independent research interests, particularly given McMaster’s long history of generating critical metadata (clinical trials, longitudinal studies) and Cisco’s clear interest in Big Data and biomedicine.
My skills and research program is rooted in bioinformatics, functional genomics, and computational biology. It spans complex informatics approaches to the functional genomics of microbial drug resistance, development of biological databases, next generation sequencing for genome assembly and mutation detection, automated literature curation approaches, controlled vocabularies for biological knowledge integration, and functional genomics approaches in environmental toxicology. I have research collaborations with both government and industry-oriented research, particularly with Public Health Ontario and the National Microbiology Laboratory. I have recent or ongoing collaborations with scientists in McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR), Biointerfaces Institute, and Department of Biology. Outside of Canada, I collaborate with several research laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Sweden.
My teaching philosophy encompasses multiple learning styles and is focused on the analysis of biological data, particularly in the fields of bioinformatics and genomics. My teaching involves both visual and oral components via lecturing, solitary scholarship via reading and other assignments, inverted and problem-based learning, team projects, and most importantly integration with ‘fresh from the lab’ research data to develop scholarship within the context of cutting-edge research practice. I emphasize intensive, workshop-style teaching strategies best exemplified by the new Biochem 3BP3 Bioinformatics course which weekly uses inverted learning strategies to analyze raw scientific data from collaborators across the globe. In undergraduate thesis training, I emphasize the collaborative nature of scientific research as each thesis student in my laboratory is partnered with an academic, government, or industrial collaborator in Canada or beyond. In graduate training, as part of the Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization program I explicitly teach commercialization of scientific discovery via the BiomedDC 701 team project, which partners MBDC students with a biomedical start-ups or small companies.