Hi, I’m Adam!
I’m a PhD student at the Bristol Centre for Complexity Science (BCCS), currently researching under the supervision of Dr Julian Gough & Dr Karoline Weisner in the field of computational molecular biology. My work at current is upon novel statistical methods for detecting horizontal gene transfer of proteins across evolutionary history.
I originally did a chemistry degree at undergrad, but thanks to a suitably off the wall final-year project under Steve Mann FRS on dissipative chemical systems and biological morphogenesis, I gained an interest in complexity and became aware of the soon to be founded Bristol complexity science centre. This was a new doctoral training programme which would include an interdisciplinary theoretical/experimentalist hybrid taught component. I feel that it was the making of me as a scientist; not only did I realise how fluid the rather arbitrary divisions between scientific disciplines are, I also felt confident in accepting that collaboration with people outside my normal sphere of departmental colleagues is the best way to progress in research. I also had the chance to change direction – the skills learnt in chemistry (calculus from quantum theory, statistics from thermodynamics and nonlinear dynamics from kinetics) are directly applicable to many other fields. A career as a theoretician called.
I now work in such an exciting area – computational biology. Ten years after people sequenced the human genome, mankind is still sequencing other species genomes like crazy, getting as much data as possible. We finally have the means to make and test quantitive models of biology and I feel as though I’m at the forefront of this scientific revolution. Day-to-day finds me using the SUPERFAMILY database to analyse genome data and test models of protein proliferation across the tree of life. I might be hacking in Perl one minute, running monte carlo simulations on a super computer the next and then deriving an analytic distribution after. And I absolutely love it …