SEAS reflects on its research community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

Postdoctoral researchers, immersed in theoretical and experimental studies, contribute immeasurably to the life and work of the university. Yet to some extent they are a hidden community—no longer the student, not yet the teacher—bursting with a culture and lifestyle of their own.

Those working with Leslie Valiant, T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, enjoy group trips to the sushi buffet. Others relish the travel, perhaps attending a summertime conference in Hawaii.

If you ask computer scientist Alexander Lex, however, “The best part is to work a new idea on the whiteboard.”

That’s understandable given the potential impact of Lex’s ideas, which could improve the ways we understand, diagnose, and treat illnesses such as cancer. His research aims to create new visualization tools to help scientists and medical clinicians analyze complex data—for example, genomic information that, interpreted correctly, could suggest a personalized treatment.

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