Monday, October 15, 2018

OSCAR Student Erica Bang Researches Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

I am currently working with a team of other students to research the disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). We are learning about transcription factors and their associated genes in order to determine biomarkers for IPF within patients. I am specifically working with a few of my teammates to create a web tool that will analyze these transcription factors. What drew me to this project was the idea of being able to collaborate with fellow Mason students to create something new with our knowledge. Before this project I had only worked on individual programming projects given to me by professors. The idea of taking what I have learned in school and applying it to a real world problem excited me as I have only applied my coding skills in a classroom. Since I had no work experience prior to this, I really wanted to have experience in a more professional environment where due dates, presentations, and teamwork is essential. This project has definitely helped me with reaching future goals as it taught me so much. I always aim to learn something new about computer science; I have grown so much just by coding every week and learning new information from my coworkers. In addition, this opportunity has given me experience with working on a project with a team instead of on my own. I have learned the importance of communicating with my teammates, sharing ideas, and working together to find a solution. Each week I have mainly worked on the backend of our tool which is the computational code that takes the user input and calculates several scores based on that information. I am constantly working on creating algorithms and debugging the code in order to build our tool. By doing so I have learned the importance of organization when creating our code. It is important to first write down your code and carefully think about it before you jump in and start typing it out. Furthermore, when collaborating with other students I learn different techniques and algorithms to solve problems; it has definitely taught me to think outside of the box.