Last fall, the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
(BBS) department welcomed Dr. Andrew McArthur as a
research professor at McMaster University. Dr. McArthur
completed his PhD in deep sea oceanography at the
University of Victoria, BC, followed by two post-doctoral
fellowships at the National Museum of Natural History,
Smithsonian Institute and at Josephine Bay Paul Center,
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. He
stayed on at Woods Hole as an assistant professor,
followed by an assistant professorship in the Department
of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry at
Brown University in Providence, RI. Over the past ten
years, he has worked in the private sector where he had
his own bioinformatics consulting company. He decided
to return to academia and continue his research as the
Cisco Research Chair in Bioinformatics at McMaster
University, home of evidence based learning.
With DNA sequencing becoming more and more
feasible, extensive amounts of data are being generated.
“I like the part that it is frighteningly large and scary”
stated Dr. McArthur. His lab at McMaster focuses on
analyzing this data and bridging this gap between raw
genetics and predicting realistic outcomes in a clinical
setting. Furthermore, Dr. McArthur wants to prepare the
students at McMaster and educate them to be able to
effectively analyze the data that they generate in the lab.
Dr. McArthur has been programming since the age of
nine. Throughout his career, he has worked at museums,
research labs, and at sea. However, in all his experiences,
the data analysis and computing was what fascinated
him the most, even as a molecular biologist. The math
and computing was always a fundamental interest for
Dr. McArthur in all the various fields and settings he has
worked in. Dr. McArthur has profound interest in the
challenge to push DNA sequencing down the clinical
aspect and allow physicians to better diagnose and
prescribe drugs to patients based on sequencing data.
Academia is more than a full time job and Dr. McArthur
tries his best to balance his career with his personal life.
According to Dr. McArthur, “Frankly the simple method
in balancing life and work is to work a lot at night. As a
career choice, it is important to like what you’re doing. If
you didn’t enjoy being a professor or researcher, you would
never make yourself work at 10pm.” Dr. McArthur believes
that work and personal life balance is a group effort and
communication is very important with your family. Apart
from being a caring dad and husband, Dr. McArthur also
likes giving back to his community. He volunteers as the
Vice President of a hockey club and figure skating club
whenever he is not working or spending time with family.
The BBS department is pleased to welcome Dr.
Andrew McArthur. He has met a lot of students, faculty
and administration this past year at McMaster and
believes “It’s a really healthy, dynamic department.”
Dr. Andrew McArthur (left), with Hetshree Joshi, 2nd year Biochemistry
“I like the part that it is
frighteningly large and scary.”
– Dr. Andrew McArthur