Adam Scott, Ph.D.
McDonnell Genome Institute
Washington University

For my undergraduate degrees, I went to Drury University in Springfield, MO. I majored in physics as well as mathematics and completed Drury's global studies minor. At Drury, I had excellent research opportunities. A team of undergrads including myself, under the guidance of Dr. Greg Ojakangas, built a 2-D robotic arm which we flew on NASA's Weightless Wonder aircraft as a part of their Microgravity University. We were testing a visco-elastic muscle model, and the arm performed very nicely. Under the guidance of Dr. Scott Simmons, for my mathematics research, I created a "wah" digital guitar pedal effect. This research focused on digital signal processing. I particpated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville during the summer of 2006. There, I worked with Dr. Huaxiang "Henry" Fu to determine electronic properties of two materials of quantum dots. The project was my first real taste of computational physics research. We used a "first principles" approach.

By the next summer, after I graduated from Drury in May 2007, I returned to Fayetteville to begin my first year of graduate school. After a year in Fayetteville, I decided to transfer to St. Louis to work under Dr. Sonya Bahar at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. I wrapped up my master's degree in physics in 2009, and I finished my doctoral research in spring 2014. I had initially planned to do neurodynamics research, so I worked with computational models of neurons and neural networks. I also conducted some rat brain surgeries to do intrinsic optical imaging of drug-induced seizures of the neocortex. That work would then be compared to synchronization analysis to study the neural synchronization basis of epilepsy. However, following the change in research direction of my adviser, I studied phase transitions in an evolution model.

My dissertation is titled, "Speciation Dynamics of an Agent-based Evolution Model in Phenotype Space". The research is an interdisciplinary approach to study the effects of mutation ability (mutability) of organisms which are described not by genetics, but by their phenotypes. I defended my dissertation in April 2014 and graduated in May with my PhD in physics through UMSL's co-op program through the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

In May 2014, I began working as a postdoctoral associate at The Genome Institute (now McDonnell Genome Institute) of Washington University School of Medicine. I have been working as co-first author on an online and downloadable structural genomics tool called HotSpot3D. My greatest contribution to HotSpot3D has been designing and implementing a clustering algorithm on mutation pairs.

I don't spend all of my time doing research though. My current hobbies are beer homebrewing, gaming, game-programming, and app-programming. When I can, I like to run, hike, backpack, rock-climb, bike, or go canoeing.

photo taken by Steve Gum at Photos by Gum (2012)

© 2016 Adam D. Scott, PhD