Dave Curran actually defended his PhD thesis back on 19th December 2016. Why has it taken me 204 days to post? Well… um… Lots has happened to distract me from writing this post. Perhaps, I still haven’t come to terms with his departure from the lab? <nice save there Dr. Wasmuth>

Dave was my first PhD student, and he was just the person I needed. He completed his BHSc (biomedical sciences) and MSc degrees here in Calgary so he knew his way around. All of his bioinformatics expertise, including programming, was self-taught. He’d experienced a high level of independence in his MSc.

Dave’s project was originally to study genes involved in xenobiotic metabolism across the parasitic nematodes. As with many PhD projects, it morphed into something else. Dave is a keen programmer and ended up designing algorithms and software that assist with the study of large gene families. His first tool, Figmop, was published in Bioinformatics. The second, MIPhy, will be submitted very soon. There is also an analysis of nematode gene families in the pipeline.


We were delighted that Dannie Durand accepted our invitation to be the external examiner of Dave’s thesis. She pushed Dave very hard and Dave gave an excellent account of himself.

Here’s the before and after shots of Dave’s time in the lab…

Thank you Dave for leading me down some excellent rabbit holes!

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