May 22nd - May 28th
The first week did not start out too well. First my flight got canceled and I had to take the flight the following day. As a result,
I wasn't able to meet my mentor, Prof Gonzalez as planned on Friday. However, she gave me two readings over the weekend so that I can familiarize myself with
the present projects. But guess what? I had lost the charger of my laptop, Taylor Place, the ASU dorm I was staying at, had no computers I could work on, the computer accessible to non-ASU students in the ASU library had just broken down and
so basically I had no computer acccess for the whole weekend! Thankfully, my roommate, Skatje Myers, who is also a DREU participant, let me use her laptop to complete the readings. Being paired with at least one other DREU student at the institution where we are working
is really a great help.
Skatje and I hung out and went to several places. We saw Terminator (a bit cliched but a good way to pass time), ate at a Mexican restaraunt, tried out Jamaican food (it's
really good!) and went to Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It was really hot outside though so we didn't like spending too much time out. I'm from
Bangladesh, which is a warm and humid place, but even there it doesn't get as hot as in Arizona! The fact that it's dry heat though made it a bit
more tolerable. On Monday I met with Bob Leaman, one of the phD students of Prof. Gonzalez. It was Memorial Day and no one else was in the lab but Bob was
sweet enough to come all the way to the lab and help me get started. He explained the different ongoing projects in more detail and gave me
3 more papers to read for the day. Also, it turned out that he had a spare hp charger with him since he just recently got a new laptop and I
was able to use that. But then the lcd screen of my laptop stopped working. So, I had to hook it up to an external monitor and use it in the lab.
The rest of the week I mainly tried to figure out which project to work on. Prof. Gonzalez had in mind a project called BioEval for me which
involved finding a means of carrying out detailed evaluation of the results from Banner- a system that allowed identification of entities like
diseases and genes from biomedical literature (ya, I know- that's cool!). However, I'm not super interested in text mining or error analysis and
I wanted something that will really grab my attention. On Wednesday I met with Prof. Gonzalez and she suggested the adverse drug reaction
project and I was immediately interested. For details about the project, look at "About my project" section.