94: PHD Biomolecular Structure and Design – Wants to make the world a better place – David Beck

Dr. David Beck earned a PHD in Biomolecular Structure and Design and is the eScience Institute Director of Research and a Research Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Beck has been associated with eScience since 2009, formerly serving as the Director of Research for the Life Sciences. Beyond his biology and chemistry domain expertise, Dr. Beck provides experience in scientific data analytics and mining, parallel programming techniques for data intensive computing and high performance computing applications, and general  software design & engineering support.

[1:10] What does post-doc mean: undergrad->PHD->post-doc (2 to 3 years to polish your skills): Biomolecular structure and Design (DNA/RNA/Protein design). How can you design new proteins/molecules.

[3:05] Why start with computer science. Grew up when computers were becoming a commodity, so knew he wanted to do something with computers. His internship shaped his direction into biology/chemistry. The degree today would be bioinformatics, using computing with biology.

[5:45] How David is leveraging his computer science degree, they use computers to find hidden structures in experimental data around biomolecules.

[8:40] what is bio-informatics – a lot of data is generated, you need to know the right statistical models to apply to the data.

[9:20] Opportunities exists in the pharmaceutical companies and also design microorganisms to remediate a contaminated site are some examples for careers.

[12:10] What has David fired up is the broad adoption of data science methods in all domains of technology. There is a data revolution – called data science.

[13:20] Getting through college: try new things, don’t get stuck with just the classes to get your degree expand outside of the core classes. We joked about gaming, but check out Foldit Game

[15:50] ah ha moment – during graduate work was focused on simulation of proteins, he wrote those simulations. So he thought if we simulated thousands of molecule simulations and generated tons of data – but in the end the data was not really knowledge, they just had a lot of data.

[18:40] – Best advice – you are not an impostor, this is a self-inflicted wound – it is all in your head and no true. And a habit – make sure there is something everyday in your job that you really love to do.
Favorite Books both by Richard Rhodes:
“Making the Atomic Bomb”
“Energy: A Human Story”

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