Dr. Sheri Sanders exploring Multnomah Falls in Portland, OR after the Evolution 2017 meeting.
My background is probably very similar to many of yours - mainly biological. I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University, doing degrees in in Zoology and Ecological Science and Management. I worked in a hyena lab determining correlations between diet and social rank, a neuro lab where I mapped neurons and made virtual endocasts of hyena skulls, and at the veterinary school tutoring pre-vet students prerequisite courses and teaching fun things like how to milk cows. I briefly went to veterinary school at MSU to study exotics medicine, then decided I liked research better than clinical science and moved to University of Texas at Tyler to do a Master's with Dr. John Placyk. I studied the morphological, ecological, and genetic phylogenetics of Map Turtles. I then did my Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame with Dr. Michael Pfrender, studying a very strange group of salamanders and learning to do RNA-seq right when it was developed.
While my Master's required quite a bit of statistics and phylogenetic programs, it was during my Ph.D. studies that I first really dug into bioinformatics. I took a intro to computing for biologists, where I learned Ruby, Perl, and a lot of Unix. I then took an intro to bioinformatics course through the computer science department, where I learned algorithms, recursion, and how to build more complex code without losing my mind. That... is the grand sum of my formal training! Everything else is borne from on-the-fly experience and informal training opportunities. I was determined to learn, so I made computing a large part of my dissertation. By the end of my time at Notre Dame, I was teaching that intro to computing course I started with. Determination does pay off!
My biological interests stem from my background in herpetology and zoo science. I am largely interested in allopolyploidy (especially in vertebrates), non-model genome assembly and annotation, anything reptile/amphibian, and conservation genomics.
My computational interests are more fluid. I am currently enjoying working with IoT/Raspberry Pis, learning system administration, and how to automate workflows to make common analyses easier to learn and complete.
I am happy to entertain collaborations, so please feel free to contact me (or other staff!) if you are working on anything you think might match up with my expertise/interests!
My NCGAS work is varied! I started our blog in 2017 and contribute articles regularly. I am in charge of the de novo transcriptome pipeline development, as well as developing our workshops (with a lot of help from others!), and am the main supporter of our genome browsers.
In addition to NCGAS services, I collaborate on several projects with other groups. I am helping with the redevelopment of the Tetrahymena and Daphnia genome browsers. I collaborate with other NCGAS staff and clients on ciliate mating type transcriptome analysis (with Bhavya), and annotation of the drain fly (Clogmia albipunctata) genome (with Carrie and Tom). I also help on several user projects that have leveraged our de novo transcriptome pipeline, work with CEWiT and Jetstream to develop raspberry pi data collectors for field stations, and teach/support computational resources for MDIBL Environmental Genomics. We're a very busy team!
I really love my job, especially since I get to be the computational fairy godmother I wish I had in graduate school. Providing people with an easier path through the computational phases of their work is extremely gratifying. I also really enjoy working on a diversity of projects, especially so early in my career.
Outside of work, I am often playing with reptiles/amphibians (My tegu, Momo, was in our blog ^_^), rebuilding 1970s Japanese mopeds and small motorcycles, playing story-based video games, and learning how to remodel my new house.