31 January 2015

As we start 2015, I am delighted to share several updates from Lincoln. We had a lot to celebrate early in the new year as our paper has been accepted in BMC Bioinformatics. This is a software paper reporting a suite of Bioconductor packages we developed for MeSH enrichment analysis and it was a collaborative effort with RIKEN. The project originally dates back to the Bioconductor Hackathon we held in the summer of 2012 in Kobe. Developing the software, drafting the manuscript, and peer-reviewing steps collectively took more than two years after the inception of the project. One interesting side note is that this was my first attempt to diverge from my main research area. It was pleasant experience to discuss genes behind annotation terms and speculate on their potential roles for modulating genetic variations. I believe embarking on a study outside the scope of my past research moves projects in new directions.

Our next goal is to apply the MeSH enrichment analysis to domestic animals. We intend to introduce MeSH to the animal genetics community, announce the availability of software, and demonstrate that MeSH terms can supplement GO enrichment analysis. At the time of this writing, I am still working on tidying up a manuscript for submission. I hope to share an update on the progress of this work in the next Monthly report.

I have launched the Quantitative Genetics Journal Club this month. We weekly discuss a broad range of quantitative genetics literature ranging from animal breeding, plant breeding, to human genetics. It is designed to be a vehicle for generating further discussions on issues arising in analysis of complex trait genetics. While we are still a very small group mainly consisted of my lab members, I hope to expand the journal club beyond my group and department. The website is up and running on GitHub Pages with help from Jekyll Bootstrap and Twitter Bootstrap.

Also, I created new GitHub Pages to share useful reading lists pertinent to quantitative genetics. I wrote about two topics in January: Bayesian Methods and Variance Component Estimation. These lists only scratch the surface of seminal papers in quantitative genetics, but hopefully these will be helpful to some of you. I aspire to include additional topics over the course of my career.

Last but not least, I kicked off my new year by giving a research presentation at NLBC in Shirakawa on the 10th before returning back to the US. I am grateful to Dr. Osawa for providing me an opportunity to deliver a talk. NLBC was one of the places I wanted to visit for a long time.

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