Assistant Professor, UC Riverside

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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

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

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

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/009944 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

Three new papers published in 2014

As we roll into spring 2014, I’m happy to announce the publication of three new manuscripts related to different projects I’ve been involved with: Our manuscript for the PhyloSift pipeline was selected for the PeerJ Picks 2014 Collection. I’ve been working as a member of the software development team for this pipeline during my currentContinue Reading

New affiliation with the Center for Population Biology at UC Davis

I’ve recently been awarded Postdoctoral Associate status with the Center for Population Biology (CPB) at UC Davis, following an internal application process. This is an exciting honor, and I’m looking forward to participating in this prestigious scientific community in 2014! A full list of CPB Postdoctoral Associates can be found here.

Funding awarded for NSF Research Coordination Network

The National Science Foundation recently recommended our Research Coordination Network proposal focused on Eukaryotic Biodiversity Research for funding. Now the paperwork is complete and the award is official!  This project is entitled “RCN EukHiTS: Eukaryotic Biodivesity Research using High-throughput Sequencing”, and represents a collaborative effort between the University of California Davis (myself as PI) andContinue Reading

New Paper: Intragenomic Variation in Nematode rRNA

Hot off the presses! Our new paper is out this week in PLoS One: Bik HM, Fournier D, Sung W, Bergeron RD, Thomas WK (2013) Intra-Genomic Variation in the Ribosomal Repeats of Nematodes. PLoS ONE, 8(10): e78230. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078230 The above link takes you to the PLoS article page – and here’s the abstract: Ribosomal loci represent aContinue Reading