Undergraduate stories

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Below are some narratives written by current and former undergraduate students:

Case study: Ian Gonzalez

"I came to the Gerstein lab as a sophomore undergraduate with very little experience in programming and no experience in research. I had just started classes in both the biology and computer science majors at Yale, and I was a little unsure about what I wanted. The Gerstein lab seemed like a great opportunity to combine both of my major academic interests. I was placed into a project that involved creating an R package, something I'd never done before in a language I'd never used. Although the project was challenging, it was an incredible introduction to creating a piece of software from the ground up, and I gained an in-depth knowledge of the R language. I ended up staying on for the summer and one more semester, and I really enjoyed my time in the lab. Ultimately, I ended up using the skills I learned in the lab to succeed in the computer science major, and now I'm headed into industry as a full-time software engineer at Google. I'm greateful to the whole lab for providing a welcoming learning environment."

Case study: Will Meyerson

"I had a long-standing interest in biology but found when doing biology bench research as a Yale College junior that my favorite part was analyzing the data. When I learned that there was a whole field that specialized in analyzing biological data –bioinformatics- I figured I should check it out. So for senior year, a mentor of mine suggested I talk with Mark Gerstein, a top bioinformatician at Yale with a long history of mentoring students of all stripes. I had only taken one computer science course as a high school student, and one stats course in college that used R, and didn't know what a command line was, but I was mathematically inclined and knew that I could think rigorously and learn on the job. For my first project on genetic regulation, I found in Roger Alexander one of many postdocs who had a special interest in teaching and was available to show me the ropes of how to interact with Yale's supercomputer from my laptop and get me started on a worthwhile but manageable research project, which ended up inspiring my Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry senior thesis. After college, I returned to Yale for medical school and continued to work in the lab. I enjoyed my research enough that I applied internally into Yale's MD-PhD program to study bioinformatics in Gerstein lab where in 2016 I am now a PhD student. I expect that I will be able to combine my medical training with the skills that I'm learning now in Gerstein lab to analyze large data sets to help make medicine a bit more data-savvy - and this all started from a one-term research project I performed as an undergrad in Gerstein lab. Feel free to get in touch with me by email to ask me more about my experience."

Case study: Jayanth (Jay) Krishnan

"Before I was a proud Yalie, I was part of a bioinformatics project at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that culminated in predicting novel concoction for the NCI-60 Cancer Cell Lines. Inspired by how techniques in machine learning can discover novel pattens in biology, I next joined the Kellis Lab at MIT where I was a part of The Epigenome Roadmap Project. By this point, I realized that I wanted to be a bioinformatician, but I still had a lot to learn. As a rising junior, I took Professor Gerstein's graduate Bioinformatics class and then later joined the lab for my senior thesis. Fortunate to be mentored by postdoc Dr. Jing Zhang, one of the most intelligent scientists I have ever met, I have been part of four different projects that strive to provide biological explanations to mutations observed from sequencing. With a more progressive tool-kit, I will be a graduate student at Oxford University where I am eager to apply the informatics techniques I have learned to a variety of applications in health."

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