Meet Mario Banuelos of the University of California, Merced. Mario, a fifth year PhD Candidate, is part of Suzanne Sindi's lab in the Applied Mathematics Department. On campus for the Genome Informatics meeting, the registration for which he won via our raffle at the 2015 SACNAS conference, he presented a poster entitled “Genetic variants over generations: Sparsity-constrained optimization tools for structural variant detection.”
What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I primarily work on developing statistical and mathematical methods for modeling and inference of genomic variants (e.g. transposable elements and structural variants).
Was there something specific about the Genome Informatics meeting that drew you to attend?
The opportunity to share and receive feedback on my work was a big motivation, and I also wanted the chance to meet and potentially collaborate with others who are doing amazing work.
What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
The science presented at this meeting covers a wide array of topics in genome informatics, but leaders from throughout those fields present novel work that definitely encourages interdisciplinary approaches to solve some of these problems. As an applied mathematician, I love seeing that type of environment fostered by these meetings.
If someone curious in attending a future iteration of Genome Informatics meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would tell them to make an effort to meet new people, expand their comfort zone, and learn about the different science people are doing (even if it does not directly relate to what they study).
What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
It’s amazing to walk around the beautiful campus and through the buildings named after pioneers of molecular biology. I also appreciated that CSHL Meetings & Courses understands the social aspect of growing as a scientist and the value of talking to colleagues over a cup of coffee.