Saturday, October 28, 2006

Starting out

Okay, here goes nothing. Millennium Pharmaceuticals just sloughed off its genomics assets, which included me. So I have some time on my hands to try something new.

I've spent 10 years with Millennium, and prior to that I was trained in the labs of two pioneers in genomics, Wally Gilbert & George Church. I'm a biologist by training, a computational biologist by preference, and an omics-fan by heart. At Millennium I played with or thought about about every omics technology there is, from DNA sequencing to expression profiling to proteomics. I won't claim I am an expert on all of them; just that I have ideas (perhaps deluded) about how they might be used.

I'll try to make a few initial promises & a few requests of you, the readers I haven't found yet. First, I will try to make my biases clear. For example, I have a hard time being objective about stuff coming from the Church lab -- my heart will long be there.

Second, I won't be a touter or a trasher. I'll try to be fair. Other than my former employer, I don't have a financial stake in anything; all other investments are in broad index funds. If my next job or some consulting gig is at a technology company, then I'll try to be open about that or avoid subjects that present a conflict-of-interest. Please don't use this blog to invest or ask me for stock tips -- I confidently predicted the Tigers would sweep this year's World Series.

Third, I'll try to stay somewhat within my expertise. If you catch me saying something dumb, please point it out. But most of the interesting stuff requires a stretch, and I strongly believe that the best results come from vigorously hashing lots of half-baked ideas -- eventually you find the ones worth sticking back in the oven.

Fourth, I'll try to keep this focused. Minimal straying off into politics or beating up on pseudoscience. It's not that I don't care about these things, it's just I need the practice keeping something focused.

Fifth, this won't be a blow-by-blow of my job search. I'd love to get leads on compuational biology positions in Boston/Cambridge or the burbs (particularly north/west of the city), but I'm not going to go blow-by-blow on my interviews. That's not what this is for.

Sixth, this won't be a place to routinely trash or praise my former employer. Millennium was an exciting place where I learned a lot, but we made plenty of mistakes too. I'll be referring to my time there frequently, but I'll try to keep some balance.

The name? Well, I played with several. I have a fondness for silliness, and the Little Caesars ads fit that. It fit the subject matter & didn't seem to be taken already. Now all I need is a picture of a little DNA helix with a laurel wreath & a spear...

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