Microbiome | Bioinformatics | Tutorials | Further Reading


Reading about the Microbiome:

  • Jorge Cham’s animated comic about the microbiome here.
  • The New Yorker’s article about fecal transplants.
  • The New Yorker’s article about the microbiome.
  • The NY Times’ article about the microbiome.
  • SDSU Professor Forest Rohwer (Dr. Whiteson’s former boss!) wrote a “phage field guide” called Life in our Phage Worldfeatured in the New Yorker here.
  • Rob Knight’s coursera course on the human microbiome.



  • UCI’s computing cluster, the HPC, takes a little bit of time to learn to use.
  • Tagged posts with tips from lab members
  • Beginner’s R tutorial here.
  • Rob Edwards’ blog.



Dr. Whiteson asks interested students to try this exercise as a test of interest and willingness to try R. She has other tutorials as well; data analysis is an increasingly important part of biology:

  1. Install R:
  2. And R Studio:
  3. Follow the instructions in this tutorial to use public data to run a Random Forest:
    • Read the presentation
    • Do Rlab1




  • Finding Papers: Set up an RSS feed using
    • Go to the website of a journal you’re interested in, and find the RSS button, usually at the bottom (or, Google the journal+RSS and find the link)
    • Go to NCBI and search for a PI that produces interesting work, and create an RSS
    • Copy URLs into Feedly and add to a collection


  • Reading Papers: Check out the Frasier Lab’s 80/20 theory as a guideline to determine which papers to read:
    • Scan through articles in RSS feeds and save ~20% of articles to read abstracts (~1-3 seconds/paper to scan, ~5-10 seconds to read abstracts)
    • Open full article for ~20% of abstracts read, and scan through figures/headings (~15-45 seconds/paper to scan)
    • Fully read through ~20% of papers scanned; bail on the rest part way through (~1-3 minutes when bailing, ~3-15 minutes when reading fully)
    • Study ~20% of papers read fully by reading multiple times and looking at references (~20 minutes-2hours/paper, and only for 1-2 papers)
  • Reading List of useful papers:


Many recent popular books about our field: