Proteins are the building-blocks of life. They are assembled from sequences of data coded in DNA, and can adopt an amazing array of shapes and chemical behaviors. In other words, they are programmable matter. Today, cheap gene sequencing has allowed us to read the code, but we are only beginning to understand how proteins work and what they do. This talk will answer basic questions about how we can play with and investigate these fascinating structures from the terminal. Where can I get the data? What does it look like? What does it mean? And can we use our mad hacking skills to do science? We will discuss practical issues of the software and databases involved to get people on their feet, and talk about the basic theoretical tools needed to make sense of the data, explore, and have fun. No knowledge of biology will be assumed.
Mitchell is a tinkerer and evolutionary biologist. He likes to explore the universe by thinking about theory of computation, studying organisms in their native environment, and hacking out OCaml code. He has written scheme for software companies, has a master's degree in Biomathematics from UCLA, researches complex systems at Harvard Medical School, and will shortly be a PhD student in Biology at U Penn.