About Me


I’m Alfred Simkin. I am an assistant professor in the Biology department of Elon University. This is my second attempt at hosting a website from my own machine. The first one was hosted on a $35 Raspberry Pi, using a tutorial from this website. It worked really well until my SD card crashed, so I decided to use the principles I’ve learned to host this one on a Linux machine I built some time ago. I’m also hosting many of the files linked in this website on an ftp server on the same machine, which you can check out directly at ftp://www.alfredsimkin.net

My research field is Computational Biology. You can find a copy of my CV here. I make alignments of sequenced genomes, search for interesting genomic features, and then use a combination of pre-existing programs and scripts that I write to infer how (and sometimes guess at why) genomes evolved the way they did. Apart from the intrinsic value of telling us how we (life forms) came to be the way we are, my research can also point out the most significant regions for molecular biologists to look at in order to see which traits are essential for life, and which ones make us unique. My sub-discipline is noncoding RNAs, which constitute a whole layer of essential regulatory information that is only now being decoded in a systematic way. (Incidentally, noncoding RNAs are ancient, which makes them intrinsically cool (life originated as RNA) and often encode their information digitally, making them ideally suited for Computational Biology). I’ve created a research page that describes these interests in greater detail.

I enjoy research a lot, but I love sharing the things I figure out even more. I’ve taught a course in basic bioinformatic programming in the Python language to graduate students six times now, and enjoyed it immensely every time. Check out my teaching portfolio for more information on this. Thanks for visiting!