Who I am
My name is Rich. I live in Minneapolis. I hang out with two cats, two dogs and a lovely woman named Lauren. My hobbies include genealogy and ruining home improvement projects. My favorite color is green, but it used to be blue. My favorite book is Catch-22, and my favorite sport is spreadsheets.
What I do
I'm currently a PhD student at the University of Minnesota studying bioinformatics and computational biology under Dr. Ran Blekhman, whose research focus is on how the human genome interacts with the human microbiome—in short, studying the bacteria that colonize the human body (there are... a lot of them in there), how they affect human health, and what role our DNA plays in managing the whole process. My current research deals with trying to understand the role microbial communities play in colorectal cancer.
Previously, I worked as a system programmer at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and before that as a developer or consultant at companies including USA Today, Target and Amazon Web Services, with a focus on infrastructure automation and cloud architecture.
I'm very interested in the "science of science," particularly the dynamics of the scientific publishing system.
- Mangul S, Mosqueiro T, Abdill RJ, Duong D, Mitchell K, Sarwal V, Hill B, Brito J, Littman RJ, Statz B, Lam AKM, Dayama G, Grieneisen L, Martin LS, Flint J, Eskin E, Blekhman R. Challenges and recommendations to improve installability and archival stability of omics computational tools. In press, PLOS Biology.
- Abdill RJ & Blekhman R. Rxivist.org: Sorting biology preprints using social media and readership metrics.. PLOS Biology (2019). doi:
Abdill, RJ & Blekhman, R. Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints. eLife (2019). doi:
Tools and projects
- Rxivist.org: Indexes all preprints posted to bioRxiv.org and allows readers to sort and filter them based on download and Twitter activity.
- DADA2 Docker image: A Docker container with DADA2 and its dependencies pre-installed, to simplify use of the amplicon data-processing tool.
Fun with networks
My Erdős–Bacon number is 8.
My Erdős number is 4:
- I co-authored a paper with Eleazar Eskin,
- who co-authored a paper with Eran Halperin,
- who co-authored a paper with Noga Alon,
- who co-authored a paper with Paul Erdős.
My Bacon number is 4, if you allow a TV appearance as the origin node:
- I was on the Nancy Grace Show with Nancy Grace,
- who appeared in A Lawyer Walks into a Bar with Robert Shapiro,
- who appeared in Burn Hollywood Burn with Billy Bob Thornton,
- who appeared in Jayne Mansfield's Car with Kevin Bacon.