With this blog, you can follow along with my journey as I continue to learn to code and use code in science-related projects because we should all be coders especially scientists. After all, anyone can code. Yes, anyone!

When I Started Coding and Why I Code Now

My very first experience with programming was in 2003 as a 9th grader. I built a very simple webpage using HTML. Thank goodness I don’t know how to find it. At the time, the web was not friendly to video (YouTube started in 2005! :flushed: ) or gifs which I used on that site.

In June 2016, I decided to dive back into programming after a 9 year break. I almost gave up many times, but the thrill of solving problems continued to reel me in. Currently, I program with Python and R, two very popular languages, in the context of Bioinformatics, which is a field that combines computer science, biology, mathematics, statistics and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data. I never knew I’d love Bioinformatics as much as I do from running and developing pipelines to understanding and tweaking statistical algorithms.

Check out what I’ve been working on for the past 6 months below.

Why You Should Code

Do you have a cell phone, ipad, or computer? Of course, you do. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, over 70% of people in the U.S. have both a smartphone and desktop/laptop computer. Every day, you are being exposed to an interface that is built with code. Why not learn more about something you use every day that has a profound impact on your life? Also, if you’re a scientist, you can use programming to improve the reproducibility of your work as well as manage experiments more efficiently.

What Else Will I Blog About?

I’ll dive into a number of topics including population health, cancer genomics, microbiomics, psychiatry, sports, and social sciences while incorporating programming. I’ll also share some of my favorite Bioinformatics tools and recent publications.


As a closing to this first post, I want to thank my coworker, Rob Gilmore, for being incredibly supportive and helpful as I learned Python. Also, I’d like to thank my lab’s PhD student, Xiao Zhang. Our lab is a team, and we’re only as strong as those around us.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of my site. :relaxed:


For any scientists interested in diving into programming, download An Introduction to Programming for Bioscientists: A Python-Based Primer.

Shaurita D. Hutchins

Shaurita D. Hutchins

Graduate Student Trainee

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