Sometimes you need to retreat a few steps before charging out ahead. That is what we did this past weekend.
UCLA has a long history of research in quantitative and computational biology. However, it did not have a dedicated program until a few years ago with the establishment of the Bioinformatics PhD. A few years into this, the graduate students started this blog! But we did not have the critical mass of contributors to keep it going.
At the QCBio retreat we realized that not only had bioinformatics grown but also the number of people doing research that is appropriate to this blog, so it is high time we get it going again! This blog is no longer going to be just bioinformatics, but rather any graduate students in QCBio and possibly some post-docs as well.
One idea that will be reflected directly on the blog is the “Open Questions” page. This is going to be a list of research questions that people have proposed, but don’t have the time or resources to currently pursue but would be very happy to collaborate on. What I like most, is that this can give undergraduates an opportunity to do research as well with graduate student mentors! We hope this will help shape our blog into not just posting about what we are doing, but a place to find research partners as well.
We also decided to expand our weekly student meeting (“Bioinformagics”, not “Student Journal Club” as the faculty seem to call it) from just bioinformatics graduate students to also include graduate students in QCBio! This is a great meeting, it is student organized and student run. We set it up after we decide during our first student retreat (also student run and organized) that it would be very beneficial. It is one hour a week and an opportunity for us to present our work, get both scientific and presentation related feedback as well as a time to through out new ideas, collaborate, brain storm and problem solve.
This was a great QCBio retreat! Great presentations, fantastic posters, casino night, restarting the blog and expanding the student meeting! I for one am excited for the year to come!