JHU Center for Computational Biology

Center for Computational Biology
Department of Computer Science

Email: rsherman [at] jhu [dot] edu
Twitter: @rshermanjhu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

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Curriculum Vitae

Rachel Sherman

Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science, Salzberg Lab, Johns Hopkins University

About me:

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. I am advised by Steven Salzberg, and my research involves considerable collaboration with Mike Schatz's lab.

My research is focused on structural variant discovery and analyses in human genomic data. I use both alignment and assembly based approaches with both short and long read data sets. My current projects are focused on examining variants in diverse populations and in breast cancer patient data.

My recent research on discovering 300 Mb of long novel insertion sequences in 910 individuals of African-ancestry has received attention in the popular press, including in The Atlantic, Inverse, and Genetic Engineering and Biotech News. I gave an interview on the subject on Ireland's Newstalk radio show Futureproof (interview begins at 24:00).

Prior to beginning my PhD in 2015, I received a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College in Mathematical and Computational Biology. During my undergraduate I participated in several research projects, including a NSF REU at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where I examined genomic structural variation detection methods in Mike Schatz's lab, and a collaborative senior capstone project with Anne Condon at University of British Columbia studying RNA folding energies and pathways.

In addition to my research, I have sought out opportunities to develop my teaching skills. In addition to TAing, I am currently enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Teaching Academy Certificate Program, through which I attend classes and workshops to strengthen my teaching skills and learn to think pedagogically. In January 2019, I taught a 3-week intersession course on dog DNA sequencing analyses, which I designed and taught as the sole instructor.

In my spare time I enjoy volunteering at my local animal shelter, the Maryland SPCA, where I walk dogs and work with the Behavior and Training department on employing force-free, positive training techniques. I also love hanging out with my own rescue pup, playing volleyball and board games, and cooking and baking.

Publications and Presented Work:


    Fall 2019 - Introduction to Computer Science, CMSCI 120, Mount Saint Mary's University
    Sole instructor of a 3-credit intro computer science course (taught in Python) intended for freshman computer science majors and interested non-majors.

    Winter 2019 - What's in a Mutt: An Intro to Dog DNA Analysis, Johns Hopkins University
    Sole instructor. Designed and taught as a 1-credit course, 3-week course. Students learned computational methods used to examine SNP array data to determine dog breed of a mutt and applied these methods to mutt data given a reference panel of purebreds. If you're interested in teaching a course on this topic, feel free to contact me for additional materials.

    Course Materials:
    Spring 2017 - Introduction to Genomic Research, Johns Hopkins University
    Teaching Assistant. Course taught by Steven Salzberg. Created assignments and held office hours. Course was project based, with students completing three projects on the topics of genome assembly, RNA-seq analysis, and metagenomics sequencing.

Please see my CV for the most up to date information on my teaching endeavors.

Creative Commons License   All course materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.