I'm excited that our paper on the genetic architecture of UV floral patterning in sunflower is the Editor's Choice for the July 2017 issue of Annals of Botany. Read it for free here!
Our second and final day of instructor training was Friday. One of the most valuable components for me was thinking about and practicing live coding. Talking through your actions as you write code allows you to troubleshoot errors as they occur, which happens all the time even to the most competent practitioners but can totally overwhelm novices. Demonstrating the actual practice of writing code helps learners develop the necessary mental models to become competent practitioners themselves.
We spent a good portion of the day talking about equity in instruction, with some interesting relevant ideas for software and data carpentry (e.g. live coding isn't very helpful for visually-impaired learners). I learned that 3M brand sticky notes of different colors look different even to colorblind learners, which is useful! In these workshops, sticky notes are often used to facilitate interactions between learners and instructors, with specific colors assigned to specific flags (i.e. green: I'm following the material, red: I need assistance, yellow: I have a question, and blue: I need a break).
We also talked a bit about designing lessons, starting with writing good learning objectives (using thoughtful verb choices from Bloom's taxonomy, see below), then writing summative assessments (e.g. exam questions) and rubrics, then the lessons themselves.
All in all, it was a valuable experience! I look forward to teaching programming and data management more effectively in the future.
I'm taking part in an instructor training for Software/Data Carpentry held online (using Blue Jeans and Etherpad, as well as additional media, and led by Greg Wilson). Day 1 involved on discussion, theory, and practice focused on educational psychology and instructional design. We practiced tiny lessons, wrote multiple choice questions with distractors, created concept maps, and developed "faded design" programming exercises. So far, I'm impressed with how much I've learned!
Important takeaways (with useful links):
Looks like I'm on an annual posting schedule here! Oh well. Last month I attended an intensive 3-week course at the International Rice Research Institute on all aspects of rice research, breeding, and production. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the human and global context of my research: I find it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you're down in the analysis trenches. The course also broadened my understanding of the rice breeding pipeline, which should increase the usefulness of the products of my research to breeders. Finally, I think the most valuable aspect of the course was the opportunity to interact and collaborate with scientists, extension officers, breeders, and others from all parts of the rice growing world. It was both challenging and rewarding to find common ground across so many cultures and perspectives.
I am grateful to NSF, IRRI, and co-organizers Jan Leach and Adam Bogdanove for the opportunity!
I am pleased to formally announce that I've been an awarded a three-year NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, as part of the National Plant Genome Initiative! I'll be working with John McKay at Colorado State University (http://www.mckaylab.colostate.edu/) and collaborating with researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (http://irri.org/). An abstract describing my proposed research is under the cut.
The Rieseberg lab got together last month for some professional photography--perfect timing! Now my face will be part of the website years after I leave. My favorites are under the cut. All photos were taken by Sylvestre Photography at UBC.
I am grateful and elated to have successfully defended my PhD dissertation! If you'd like to check it out, it is available here. I'm going to be spending my summer as a postdoctoral researcher in the Rieseberg lab, wrapping up some projects and writing them up for publication.
I'm waiting for final committee approval before submitting my thesis to an external examiner, so I made this silly sunflower-seed-shaped word cloud from all of the non-methods parts of the document. Next time someone asks me what my thesis is about, I'll just send them this.
I just got back from the Evolution 2014 meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina! It was a blast, full of great conversations and fascinating research. I was especially impressed by talks by Peter Andolfatto, Katie Lotterhos, Mark Rausher, John Weins, Molly Schumer, and Young Wha Lee. I also quite enjoyed the American Society of Naturalists' VP Symposium on Modern Approaches to Local Adaptation, organized by UBC's own Mike Whitlock.
I also talked about my research on the new California sunflower, Helianthus winteri. It was even recorded by a volunteer! The volunteer missed the first few minutes of my talk, so if you decide to watch it, a quick recap of my introduction is below the fold.
We have been working on a two enzyme protocol for preparing genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) libraries for sunflowers, starting by modifying the approach taken by Poland et al. 2012. I recently got our first set of sequence data back for two of these libraries, and compared the data to previous GBS libraries using PstI alone. My initial analysis is here. Contact me if you are interested in our protocol!