Scott Emmons named Churchill Scholar

Congratulations to undergraduate Scott Emmons, a long-time member of our research group, on his being named one of the 16 Churchill Scholars for 2019! After he finishes up his honors thesis here at UNC this Spring, Scott will head off to for a year of study at the University of Cambridge, where he will be affiliated with Churchill College. Congratulations Scott!

Read more here.

SIAM Committee on Science Policy

Having spent the last few days in Washington, D.C., I want to express special thanks to Nick Higham and Dave Levermore for inviting me to serve on the SIAM Committee on Science Policy. It has been very interesting to hear more about different aspects of national science policy and federal funding directly from the people directing these efforts. And I have been inspired seeing the many ways in which the members of this committee advocate for science. I’m truly honored to be part of this group.

If you want to learn more about what happens when the Committee visits Washington, I recommend the recent SIAM News article by Natalie Sheils, “Reflections from a SIAM Science Policy Fellowship Recipient.” Postdoctoral researchers and early career researchers interested in becoming new science policy fellows can submit applications through December 7.

Sun rising over the U.S. Capitol, November 19, 2018

New Chronicle Video Based on Our “5 Tips” For Chairs

I’m excited to see the new Two-Minute Tips video posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Two-Minute Tips are billed as “Short videos to help you excel in the academic workplace.” This week’s video is based on the essay I recently co-wrote with Rob Kramer titled “5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as Department Head.”

Our new paper in Nature Genetics

I’m thrilled to see our new paper in Nature Genetics: Functional classification of long non-coding RNAs by k-mer content led by BCB graduate student Jessime Kirk in Mauro Calabrese’s lab.

And it was even enough to motivate Mauro to post his first lab account tweet:

(I’m a mostly lurking, occasional retweeter on an account you are unlikely to find, even if you cared to try.)

See also: Scientists Create Method to Map Vast Unknown Territory of Long Non-coding RNA

New MURI award

I am very excited about our new MURI award from the ARO, “Multiscale integration of neural, social, and network theory to understand and predict transitions from illness to wellness.” Working with Emily Falk and Dani Bassett at Penn and Kevin Ochsner at Columbia, our project aims toward “A proof of concept with mindfulness, hypnosis and alcohol use disorders.”

Working on this project with me at UNC is new postdoctoral associate, Dr. Emma Smith. Emma joins us having just completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at UC-Irvine, where she worked with Carter Butts.

We just returned from Philadelphia, visiting Penn for the Kickoff Meeting for this project, and look forward to these exciting collaborative activities in the coming months and years.

5 Tips on Surviving Your FIrst Year as a Department Head

I’m very excited about our advice essay appearing in this week’s The Chronicle of Higher Education, coauthored with Rob Kramer.

Rob and I together co-facilitate the Chairs Leadership Program at the Institute for the Arts & Humanities here at UNC. Our essay aims to concisely summarize some of the common lessons we’ve seen department chairs learn as they work through their first year in the position. I am grateful to Rob and to the IAH for the opportunity to work with the amazing people who come through this program each year.

Graduation 2018

With congratulations to all of the graduates who celebrated this past weekend, I am particularly proud of and will miss the three group members who wore their caps and gowns. Dr. Sam Heroy will move to England later this summer to start a postdoctoral position at Oxford. Dr. Natalie Stanley is moving all too immediately to California to start her postdoctoral position at Stanford. Nic Larsen graduated with his bachelors degree and will start graduate school this fall at NC State.

The assortment of pictures below is from the Ph.D. hooding ceremony. Even though I enjoyed my funny photobomb, my favorite picture is the one of Natalie and Sam with UNC’s most famous alumnus (well, sort of with him, down in the halls under the Smith Center). We had a little bit of spare time down there since I obviously erred on the side of getting there early.

Network Frontier Workshop presentation now online

With continued thanks to the organizers of the Network Frontier Workshop, I am happy to see that they’ve put this year’s talks online.

Mucha presents at the Network Frontier Workshop

A big thank you to Adilson Motter and the whole team of people at Northwestern for continuing their Network Frontier Workshop series. While it would have been nice to see everyone in person like in past years, the online virtual format worked well. Congratulations to the organizers for working well through the technical details. I greatly enjoyed the talks and was honored to participate again.

Group descends on Data Institute SF Annual Conference

Congratulations to all involved in the Data Institute SF Annual Conference, with a big thank you to conference chair James Wilson for giving us the opportunity to talk networks in this wonderful venue.

We had a phenomenal showing in our Networks track, across four sessions chaired by Mucha, including 15 speakers. In addition to Networks track talks by Mucha (chair’s prerogative) and group alumnus Dane Taylor, PhD student Natalie Stanley talked in a session on Machine Learning Applications, and PhD students Sam Heroy and William Weir both gave posters.

Thank you to all of the speakers (pictured below) who joined us for our Networks track. It was an honor to have such an amazing cast in our track!