What is your current role? Tell us a bit about your line of research.

I’m currently an MD/PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. My research interests are in cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative medicine – I’m particularly interested in the use pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac tissues for clinical application. My PhD work is focused on improving the maturation status of these engineered cardiac tissues for better clinical utility. A lot of my research revolves around using single-cell RNA-sequencing, and so I get a nice mix of in vivo and in vitro wet lab biology as well as computational biology. I hope to wrap up my PhD in the next year or so, and then get back to my clinical rotations!

What are you excited about in science communication?

I’ve been particularly thrilled by the emergence of multiple platforms for publicizing and critiquing studies. There’s no reason that peer review should be closed-off and hidden, and these platforms demonstrate the ideal of peer review as a living, breathing, shared process within the scientific community. From my personal perspective, I’ve also learned so much just by trawling preLights or the comments from various preprint journal clubs – hearing other people’s thoughts on a paper is a great way to be exposed to new ideas.

Why did you choose to participate in the ASAPio Fellows program?

Perhaps I am a bit on the extreme end, but I think that the current journal-driven peer review system has led to a strange ecosystem that favours the pursuit of “flashy” or “exciting” science at the cost of high quality research. I firmly believe that the combination of preprints (to enable rapid dissemination) and open peer review will lead to a better focus on quality science and improve incentives within the scientific community. Of course, it is one thing for me to complain about these issues on Twitter and quite another to take concrete steps towards implementing new publication structures. I have long admired ASAPbio’s progress on these fronts, and joined the Fellows program so I could get more involved in initiatives to promote preprints and open peer review.

Ask me about…?

  1. My favourite organ? The heart. (There are other organs?)
  2. Favourite single cell RNA-seq pipeline? Whooooo boy, I could go on for hours. Of course, the real answer is always “it depends on your project.”
  3. Favourite music? At heart, I’m a blues and jazz guy, but I’ve definitely been getting in neosoul and Instagram rock (for want of a better term) recently – check out Mateus Asato, Kazuki Isogai, Melanie Faye, or Polyphia, Covet, and Ichika Nito if you want something a bit more band-like! (And also send me your music recs too).