About Me




Nick Anderson, Ph.D.

Director of Informatics Research

Robert D. Cardiff Professor of Informatics

School of Medicine

Director, Biomedical Informatics

Clinical Translational Science Center

University of California, Davis

4610 X St, Bld 33, Ste 2350

Sacramento, CA 95817

(916) 703 6976


Academic Advice

(Inspired in part by Nate Nibbelink, University of Georgia, David O/'Connor, University of Wisconsin and Erika Zavaleta, UC- Santa Cruz)

If you are a student seeking to work with me, it would be helpful for both of us to understand my graduate mentoring philosophy.

My primary mentoring goal is to support students seeking to improve the quality of health and health information in society. As collaborations in research are one of the most intellectually stimulating and time consuming activities I engage in, I try to select students who share my optimism about having a positive influence in health, believe in shared hard work, and will benefit the university and informatics community. Informatics labs are not like other labs - they are virtual, rapidly evolving, and require a very high degree of communication coupled with a significant necessity for self-management. In such, working with me requires a considerable amount of communication, for which I will invest equal or greater commitment to support students both during our research collaboration, as well as in their later careers. I meet regularly with students, hold productive meetings, and support your professional development at each stage of your graduate work. I will help keep you on track to finish your degree in a reasonable time. I also work for a sense of community and try to model professional honesty and integrity.

what I expect from you

Writing - I expect all prospective students to have a good command of written English. If you do not write well, you will have a very difficult time succeeding in graduate school or in a scientific career. This may sound harsh, but it is true. I believe that effective writing is at least as important for effective management or consulting as it is in /publish or perish/' academia.

Personal responsibility and critical thinking - As projects take shape, students must become experts themselves. My primary job is to provide the resources and environment conductive to success. Students should know more than me about their projects. They should have a better grasp of the literature and should drive the evolution of their projects and design innovative approaches to their research problems.

Social citizenship - Graduate students should actively participate in their programs, attend seminars regularly, and be involved in school and university activities. Informatics students should in particular take all opportunities to lead (and listen!) to discussions, and to hone their abilities to communicate across the healthcare spectrum, from policy makers to CEOs to patients.

Diversity and balance - You need to have ways to gain perspective on your research, this means building balance between work and life. I personally need to build things, which involves things from gardening to programming to cars, but it can be cooking, music, craft, reading - anything that lets you detach such that you can reengaged. Academic work is >long< work, and you need to be able to build a life around it that gives you focus and strength. I can offer more advice over a beer :-)