Kyle Ambert

Healthcare is pointy

Yesterday was either the day of the great unveiling or the beginning of the end, depending on your perspective. This morning, however, I face my greatest fear. “I’ll lay down, if you don’t mind.” She nodded, but I couldn’t help feeling a little ridiculous. “It’s just a TB test,” Nurse REDACTED consoled me, “you’ll be fi….” She stopped short, looking down at her chart. “Oh, no it’s not. You need a tetanus booster too. I’ll … Read More

Every week is Research Week

Signing up for a presentation at OHSU Research Week was, for me, a no-brainer. Having spent time in two of the most presentation-heavy graduate programs here at OHSU (Biomedical Informatics & Behavioral Neuroscience), I have given approximately infinitely many research talks since I began my journey as an OHSU graduate student back in 2005. These days, public speaking in front of an audience comes slightly easier to me than speaking one-on-one (sadly, my girlfriend won’t … Read More


Friends & family know—I love me some R. It’s not just my tattoo of co-founders Robert Gentleman & Ross Ihaka (Fig. 1), although that probably is a contributing factor, it’s the fact that I’m constantly talking about the open source stats. language, extolling its virtues from the highest to the lowest points of OHSU (5th floor of the BICC, & when the administration realized the Supreme Court was serious about removing the tort cap, respectively). … Read More

A time for scholasticism

Last week OHSU received generous backing from Bob & Charlee Moore,  a couple who, in my mind, belong to a new generation of philanthropists (e.g., the Gates, the Knights, Paul Allen, etc.) who use their means to fund scientific research initiatives which have captured their imagination. It was truly an exciting occasion for the scientific community, but even more so for those of us who count OHSU our research homeland. It was a time to … Read More


Recently, Apple revealed the blueprints for its headquarters 2.0. The doughnut-shaped behemoth is set to become the shiny/new worktime home of 12,000 programmers, researchers, executives, and their respective cats (I’m guessing), and promises to be a boon to the economy of Cupertino, California, where it is to be built. Here at OHSU, we’ve been going through a bit of a space-crunch, of late, and so I’m reading about this at my OHSU workstation that I … Read More


“& sometimes language has to adapt,” I continued. “I mean, Finnegan’s Wake starts in the middle of a sentence, for example.” I was at a weekend gathering, playing devil’s advocate at some English Majors who were taking issue with the fact that I’d just used “OMZ” in a sentence—a versatile surprise-signifying initialism of my own creation, standing for Oh My Zoo. The English had been rendered temporarily paralyzed with the implied equation of myself & … Read More

World’s speediest dissertation

PhD candidate Kyle Ambert gives us an overview of his research, “Text-mining Tools for Optimizing Community Database Curation Workflows in Neuroscience,” clocking in at just under five minutes. He’s busy at the 28th annual Student Research Forum, so we’re posting on his behalf today. Want to learn more? View Kyle’s poster.

A Dissertation-related Post

Greetings! At the risk of sounding like a stereotypical blogger, it’s been awhile since my last post. Aside from the back-of-my-mind guilty feeling, I know this because several readers have approached me in recent weeks to remind me of this. An e.g.:

Work Smarter, not Harder

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity. At a talk last week, a friend & fellow Fellow with the National Library of Medicine gave an enjoyable talk entitled, “Work Smarter, not Harder.” In it, he outlined a few key areas where researchers can improve their efficiency & streamline their workflow. There were about 25 of us present, so as I waited for him to get started, I was excited to be able to discuss … Read More

Collaborator, Friend, Whiteboard

There are very few places where I feel more at home than here at OHSU. It’s a welcoming environment, to be sure, &, although the cynic in me is quick to point out that, having been a Ph.D. student here since 2005, I have spent more time on campus than I have in my actual apartment, I like to think it has more to do with the welcoming bit. Like many graduate students, my work … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

Participation Guidelines

Remember: information you share here is public; it isn't medical advice. Need advice or treatment? Contact your healthcare provider directly. Read our Terms of Use and this disclaimer for details.