This past weekend, I accepted an offer to join UC Davis as an Associate Professor of Genetics in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, in the School of Veterinary Medicine. The appointment is still pending tenure review, but I expect to join Davis whether or not they give me tenure (sshh! don't tell them!)
I am very sad to be leaving many good friends and colleagues in Michigan, but the personal and professional opportunities available at UC Davis are simply outstanding; we decided as a family that Davis was our future.
I'm sure you must all have lots of questions. So here's a handy list of answers!
Wait, tenure review? Didn't you have tenure at MSU?!
VetMed... wait, what?
Really? You're going to leave it there?
Turns out veterinary animals have genomes, too! And PHR and VetMed are extremely broad in their research programs -- they have great people in ecology, evolution, microbiology, and many other fields. UC Davis overall is truly excellent, but I am really enthusiastic about joining VetMed specifically. There are several other recent faculty hires that I'm thrilled about, and the existing faculty are just outstanding; I expect Davis VetMed to offer a wonderful and fertile ground for the growth of my research program.
OK, seriously, why did they even interview you, much less hire you?
Well, I agree that my fit for the position description as posted is not quite perfect. So I asked the same question! Among other things, several members of the hiring committee said that they really liked my education efforts. Without a strong research program, they would probably not have looked seriously at my application; but, once they did, they said that they really liked the mix of research and education and outreach.
Just as a reminder, I've made all of my application materials available here.
What talk did you give? Your soil metagenomics talk?! How'd that go?
My talk is posted on Slideshare so you can see for yourself -- it was almost entirely about the work that my student Dr. Likit Preeyanon did on Marek's Disease resistance in chicken.
Yeah, I work on that stuff, too :).
Did you apply for any other jobs?
Yep. I applied for about six academic positions, including positions in Big Data, mol bio/ecology/evolution/bioinformatics, and microbiology. Got one interview, and one job offer. shrug
Are you going to continue doing ... whatever it is you do?
Yep. And more!
Did Jonathan Eisen have anything to do with this?
Jonathan was one of my references, but AFAIK he was uninvolved in the decision past that. Needless to say, however, the fact that UC Davis is supportive of his social media and open access efforts was a strong positive at Davis (although MSU is no slouch there either).
We do hope his open access policies extend to his backyard pool.
When are you going!?
TBD. Sometime in early 2015, I think.
Will you be hiring?
Yeppers. More on that down the road.
Do you even like granola?
I do! Note that I went to Reed and Caltech for undergrad and grad school respectively, so I think Davis is a good average between the two -- and not just geographically :).
How did you get hired without a passel of Cell/Nature/Science papers?
I have a few high profile papers, most notably a bunch o' PNAS papers. But my publication record was never at any point brought up by anyone, so I don't know what they thought of it.
It was your klout score, wasn't it! That's why they hired you!
Honestly, as far as I can tell they were largely unaware of my social media and open science interests. The search committee seemed interested in it over dinner, though.
What else makes you excited about Davis?
The new Big Data initiative at Davis.
The Davis Genome Center.
The opportunities for interactions with faculty from the CS, Ag, Microbiology, and Developmental Biology parts of campus.
The proximity to Big Sur, a.k.a. "the most beautiful area in the world."
Do you have any plans to scale up (or back) your education and training efforts?
Funny you should ask! Yes, I do plan to scale up my training efforts significantly! More on that once I figure out where my office will be, how to get paid, and where all the campus coffee shops are.
Do you plan to change the name of your lab?
Well, right now it's called the Lab of Genomics, Evolution, and Development (GED), which has become increasingly inaccurate :). I'm think of naming it the Lab for Data Intensive Biology (DIB). Other suggestions welcome; given my inability to focus, the Lab of Life, the Universe, and Everything might work just as well...
How do you feel about losing your short e-mail address? It doesn't get much shorter than 'firstname.lastname@example.org'!
Hopefully I can get email@example.com. That will more than make up for it.
The City of Davis just received a new armored vehicle. Coincidence?