30 September 2014

I am pleased to announce that our new review paper on kernel-based genetic prediction has been accepted in Statistical Genetics and Methodology, which is a specialty section of Frontiers in Genetics. Let me provide a background about this work. In this review paper, the intention was to recap what I had been working on during my Ph.D. in the area of kernel methods and aimed to create a guide for those of who are unfamiliar with this field. My coauthor and I concluded that publishing in Statistical Genetics and Methodology would be a great avenue to reach a much larger audience outside of animal genetics. What actually spurred me to compile a review paper is the fact that not many non-animal geneticists are aware of the whole-genome approach, which is commonly employed in animal breeding. The content of the review paper is mainly derived from the second chapter of my Ph.D. thesis and I tidied up the chapter for the journal after I moved to UNL in July. While this work stemmed from my Ph.D. work before I started running my own group, I was delighted to see the first paper with my new affiliation. I learned that my department pays a publication fee for each faculty member per year. This policy greatly benefits our paper to be published as an open assess since the expenses for publishing in an open access journal can be high.

As a new semester has been kicked off, I wanted to share some reflections of mine. Of particular note is that I have reviewed four manuscripts in this month, which is more than I had reviewed during my stint at graduate school. It is always honor to be chosen as a reviewer; however, I have to lessen my time while maintaining the quality of review. I usually spend more or less 1.5 days to complete my review and tone-check myself but perhaps I have been spending too much of time.

I volunteered to give a talk at Animal Genetics Seminar on September 18. This weekly seminar is scheduled on Thursdays between 1pm and 2pm. I shared some of my work that I did not present during my job talk last year. There is plenty of room to brush up my presentation skill such as how to effectively frame my thoughts and clearly lay out take-home messages. One lesson I learned is to put extra effort on reorganizing my previous work conducted at UW-Madison to present for a diverse and mixed new audience at UNL.

I have decided to participate in Fall 2014 Adopting Research Based Instructional Strategies for Enhancing (ARISE) professional development programs. Among three scientific teaching workshops being offered this semester, I am attending Just in Time Teaching (JiTT) workshop in which we meet biweekly on Wednesdays between 11:30am and 1pm in Room 203 of the newly renovated Brace Hall. Texts, materials, and lunch are provided for each session as well as a $500 stipend after successfully completing a minimum of 6 of the 8 sessions. I have very limited exposure to teaching to date, so I am willing to pick things up to become a better teacher. We had our first and second sessions on the 3rd and 17th. JiTT is structured such that students are expected to complete exercises or read related course materials a few hours before each class. Instructors then adjust the in-class activity based on the student responses. I am particularly interested in the extent to which JiTT would be effective for both undergraduate and graduate level students as I am expected to design a course for the latter.

The first IANR New Faculty Success Network Luncheon of the 2014-2015 academic year was held on Tuesday, September 16 from 11:30am to 1pm at the Nebraska East Union. The central aim for these luncheons is to help new faculty jump start their research, teaching, and extension programs by providing access to information and resources at UNL as well as offering open communications with IANR administration. There are 9 luncheons scheduled between the beginning of September and the end of May. We, including Deans, briefly introduced each other in the first luncheon. Apart from this event, there was an additional luncheon titled “A Conversation with the Vice Chancellor” for faculty who started after August 1, 2013. We visited with NU Vice President and IANR Vice Chancellor Ronnie Green on the 22nd from 11:30am to 1pm at the Nebraska East Union.

The first Big Data Consortium meeting of this semester took place in Morrison Conference Room 169 on the 19th from 1pm to 2:30pm. We meet monthly to discuss research in any areas of Big Data including methodology and applications for ever-increasingly large data sets. On a related note, the Symposium on the Future of Big Data is scheduled on Thursday, November 6th and Friday, November 7th at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center. I will report more on this UNL Big Data Initiative in November.

P.S. The 2014-2015 New Faculty Brochure is now available online (link1, link2)!

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