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Aoife McLysaght is #MakingIrelandClick

Aoife McLysaght - Making Ireland ClickWith Science Week underway from 13th – 20th Nov, we welcome geneticist Aoife McLysaght to the digital hotseat and find out what makes her click…

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what impact have digital technologies had in your life?

Professor in Genetics in Trinity College. I studied science for my degree, and was exposed to C programming as part of the course. However, I always preferred biology, and increasingly, genetics in particular. When I started in Genetics I was delighted to discover that, uniquely in Ireland, it was possible to combine computer programming and genetics. This combination is called “bioinformatics”, and I ended up doing my PhD and now run my own research lab using bioinformatics to study genomics and evolution.

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter: @aoifemcl
In the Lab: http://gen.tcd.ie/molevol

What’s your favourite piece of digital technology?

Programming, especially in scripting languages — my favourite is Perl, but my students all use Python these days.

Can you remember the first time you used it? Who introduced you to it?

I first got exposed to programming as a child when my parents bought a Commodore 64. The computer just sat there with a blinking cursor, forcing you to figure out how to make it do stuff. The programming language was Basic and I liked to copy scripts that would just make big blocks of colour move around the screen. I never did anything fancy, but I somehow found it amusing.

Are there any downsides to your use of digital technology?

Nope.

How would you persuade someone who is not yet using digital technology to encourage them to get on board?

Let them play with a scripting language … it’s fun!

(Here’s a Beginners guide to Python)

Have you come across anything online that you think is a must-use?

I once caught my son compulsively playing on an iPad in the school library. My first reaction was to tell him to stop, and then I realised he was playing an algebra game called Dragon Box 2, and loving it! Carry on …
I use Papers App for organising my scientific papers for reading etc.

(DragonBox is available for iPhone/iPad and for Android )

What is the newest digital tech that you have started using?

iPad pencil …. It allows me to scribble notes on the papers I am reading, which is extremely useful. It works much better than my older stylus.

If you could teach one person to use a technology what would it be?

Programming in Python