You want to join TAPDANCE at Maynooth University?
If you are interested in joining TAPDANCE at Maynooth University send an email to me, Damien Woods, detailing why. The email should focus on scientific matters and address issues like: Why do you think you’d like to work with us? How does my research work interest you? Feel free to give your thoughts on my publications or related publications by others. What work have you done that might interest me, or that led to you considering us as a new home? Is there something exciting you’ve done or would like to do that we should discuss?
Please keep in mind that if your email lacks specifics then it will probably be ignored. I want to see how you think!
What do we do?
We work on (A) theory and (B) practice of computing with molecules.
(A) Theory: This starts by reading the literature and learning about existing models of computation inspired by molecules and their interactions. We spend a lot of time and energy asking new questions, but mostly trying to answer questions (by proving theorems) in order to understand the capabilities of such models.
(B) Practice: We build DNA computers in the wet-lab. This involves designing systems to build while making use of our theoretical understanding from (A), using computer code to help design DNA sequences, and then doing an experiment where we get to see if our design worked!
Firstly, we are fairly flexible on required background. Essentially it is important to be excited about the topic, to have the ability to focus hard to see an exciting project through, to want to have fun with it and of course a desire to use your imagination!
Secondly, since we are an interdisplinary group we are open to having students and postdocs of a variety of backgrounds. Our research has theoretical components such as defining models of computation and proving theorems, as well as experimental science components such as making DNA nanostructures that compute in the wet-lab. It is not often the case that students have been exposed to a lot of both (say) computer science theory and experimental science. But usually a background in at least one of them is sufficient to get going and to provide a base to learn the other. If you know and like theory, and are excited and focused enough to implement your ideas in the wet-lab then you can easily learn the wet-lab techniques. If you already have some experimental background and wet-lab skills, and have a good appreciation for clear, reasoned and even mathematical thinking, then that combination can work really well too. Generally an interest and willingness to learn about new things (computer science, physics, chemistry, even biology) is quite important.