The broad mission of our lab is to make contributions to computational genome science. We make contributions through education, software development, and collaborative biomedical research.
A primary goal of the lab is training great computational genome scientists. Computational scientists necessarily use a variety of tools from computer science, software engineering, statistics, and—for genome scientists—biology and medicine. In our lab, everyone learns the foundational aspects needed to do great computational genome science. Of course, genome science is a fast-paced field, so we also continue learning together, sharing and discussing advances in genome science as they come about. Not everyone wants or can have a career in a university setting, and our lab provides preparation for careers both inside and outside of academia.
Our research is realized through software development. Therefore, a keen interest in programming as a means of doing science is necessary to succeed in our lab. Software development and/or programming can take many forms, from simple scripts to complete platforms to interactive visualizations. In general, our approach to research is (a) find a problem/challenge in genome sciences where existing programs are not good enough; (b) develop new software to address the challenge; and (c) apply the software to address the challenge and contribute to solving it. The research product, then, provides advances in software as well as genome science. We do not build prototypes; we build software that people can (and hopefully will) use. Finally, all of our software is open-source and publicly available.
Many of the really exciting problems in biomedical science today require multidisciplinary, collaborative team working together. In this spirit, we work closely with biomedical scientists from many different backgrounds. Lab members often are required to learn about a subfield of biology/medicine in order to do their research and to work closely with others that have very different training.