Assistant Professor, UC Riverside

Joining UC Riverside as Assistant Professor – as of Summer 2016

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I will be starting a tenure-track faculty position at the University of California, Riverside in summer 2016, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nematology.

Yes, Nematology. For someone who sits at the interface of many disciplines, I can’t say I ever expected to join a Department that is eponymous with a very specific taxonomic group. But after several wonderful visits to UC Riverside (and chatting with some fabulous worm-y colleagues), I have convinced myself that this is the necessary way forward.

My goal at UC Riverside will be to bring taxonomy into the 21st Century – leveraging the deep knowledge within the Department to explore fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, ecology, and biodiversity. With a focus on worms, of course. Free-living nematodes–especially those that live in marine habitats–are an unacknowledged pot of gold in biology. After spending the last few years moving between genomics centers and different microbially-inclined projects, I’ve come to realize the importance of a solid taxonomic foundation. For Environmental DNA studies (metagenomics and marker genes), we can always think big, but we have to start small. We can work outwards from Phylum Nematoda, but it makes sense to go back and start there – since Nematodes are where my scientific career first began in 2006. Without that taxonomic anchor, some grand ideas will seem perpetually insurmountable as “big data” continues to get even bigger. And as I come full circle back towards Nematodes, I’m convinced that my scientific ideas will take the next leap forward.

I’m also thrilled to be joining one of the 5 most diverse major research universities in the USA (with a diverse student population and a commitment to expand faculty diversity with 300 new hires by 2020). UC Riverside is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution, with a melting pot of students from different backgrounds. By bringing my research program to UC Riverside, this is a first step towards my long-term commitment towards improving diversity in STEM disciplines.

Nematode Microbiome paper – in press at Molecular Ecology

Hot off the presses at Molecular Ecology – a new paper on nematode microbiomes! This study was led by collaborators Sofie Derycke and Tom Moens at Ghent University in Belgium, and shows some tantalizing first clues about resource partitioning and selective feeding within a cryptic species complex of free-living marine nematodes. Derycke S, De Meester N, RigauxContinue Reading

Happy 2016! Some recent news…

2016 is now in full swing, and it’s been a busy few months. As of October 2015, I am now working as a project scientist in Jane Carlton’s lab at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. My role here focuses on “urban metagenomics” projects, analyzing shotgun data and environmental 18S rRNAContinue Reading

New paper: Ten Simple Rules for Effective Online Outreach

Myself and colleagues at Deep-sea News are very proud to announce “Ten Simple Rules for Effective Online Outreach”, a new open access article in the eponymous series at PLoS Computational Biology. As practicing scientists who are committed to blogging about marine science, we’ve put in a lot of hard work trying to determine the most efficient strategies for online scienceContinue Reading

Evolution of the Indoor Biome – new review paper in TREE

In June 2013, I had the pleasure of participating in “Evolution of the Indoor Biome”, a fantastic Catalysis Meeting at NESCent spearheaded by Craig McClain and Rob Dunn. One of the long-awaited outputs from that meeting was an eponymous review paper discussing this nascent field, our current knowledge, and future research needs. After a long andContinue Reading

PhD opportunity in Birmingham, UK

Want to come work with me at the University of Birmingham, UK? I’m currently recruiting a PhD student to work on a project entitled “Using ‘omic methods to determine how sediment communities of microbial eukaryotes respond to oil spills and environmental disturbance” (link to full ad on FindAPhD). This studentship is fully funded (open to eligibleContinue Reading

New Paper – Metagenomics review in the Biological Bulletin

I’m happy to announce publication of a new invited review paper in the Biological Bulletin, one of three reviews included as part of a virtual symposium on “Discovering diversity with high-throughput approaches”. My review focuses on primarily on shotgun metagenomic approaches, discussing current methods/techniques, and providing some case study examples from the study of viruses and theContinue Reading

Manuscript preprint now online – Phinch data visualization framework

Our preprint for the Phinch software paper is now online! Please enjoy the PDF on bioRxiv while we patiently wait for the manuscript to go through the peer review process: Bik, H.M. and Pitch Interactive (2014) Phinch: An interactive, exploratory data visualization framework for –Omic datasets, bioRxiv, doi: If you’re not familiar with thisContinue Reading

New Position at the University of Birmingham, UK

It’s official, I’ve landed myself back overseas! As of August 29, 2014, I’ve begun a new position at the University of Birmingham, UK – I’ve joined the School of Biosciences with a stated research focus in “Environmental Genomics”. My appointment is part of the Birmingham Research Fellowships scheme, aimed at recruiting interdisciplinary early-career researchers to develop campus expertise withinContinue Reading

microBEnet: Lessons Learned from Building an Interdisciplinary Scientific Community in the Online Sphere

The Microbiology of the Built Environment Network ( – a project I’ve been involved with in the Eisen lab at UC Davis) has made it into the community page at PLoS Biology! Our article has been in the works for some time, and we’re now pleased to announce its official publication: Bik HM, Coil DA, Eisen JAContinue Reading