Jeffrey West

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Doctoral Candidate


Jeffrey is a PhD student at the University of Southern California. He studies under Paul K. Newton in the Aerospace & Mechanical engineering department and his thesis is in the field of computational evolutionary ecology modeling of cancer tumor growth, metastasis, and therapeutic strategies. In his spare time he enjoys reading, biking, and managing a blog website at You can follow him on Twitter @jeffreyjizzle.

The math behind…

Posted: February 1, 2017, 10:30am Last week I happened across a cool subsection of the SIAM website called Math Matters. SIAM is the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, which has a professional organization and a journal which I’ve published some of previous research in cancer. The Math Matters is a monthly publication designed to pique interest in the daily applications of … Read More

Theory, models, and biology

Posted: February 1, 2017, 10:20am Yesterday, I applied to a really interesting short course from the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics called Eco=Evolutionary Dynamics in Microbial Communities. This program offers a unique mix of practical mini-courses on community behavior, bioinformatics, sequencing, and evolution combined with hands-on experience with experimental projects and data. I submitted a CV and a cover letter with the application, and … Read More

Currently reading: The Gene

Posted: January 25, 2017, 5:36pm I’ve been waiting for this book to show up at my door for a while now. It’s brand new, released within the past few months: The Gene: An Intimate History. This book by Siddhartha Mukherjee (a prominent doctor, appearing on the news now and again, also the author of awell known history of cancer book called … Read More

Data Sharing

Posted: January 16, 2017, 3:07pm I’ve written in the past about the trending-toward-open nature of science in the past decade. One of the big pushes behind open science is the sharing of useful data, especially in medicine. This push is in addition to the push for open academic journals, more sharing of thoughts on science blogs and social media, and a trend … Read More

Automatic Coffee

Posted: January 16, 2017, 1:06pm I woke up this morning at around 8:30am, walked into the kitchen and poured myself a cup of coffee. Did you catch that? I didn’t brew myself a cup, I just poured it. That’s because my coffee brewed automatically about 10 minutes before I walked into the kitchen. What a time to be alive. As … Read More

How do we still not understand P values?

Posted: January 9, 2017, 10:55am How do we still not understand P values? Quite a bit of buzz was generated in the science twitter-verse this past week with the release of a new publication called “P values and the search for significance” by Naomi Altman and Martin Kryzywinski. A p-value, via Wikipedia, is “the probability that, using a given statistical … Read More

Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Posted: January 9, 2017, 10:53am I got the coolest Christmas gift: a book on the visualization of data. It’s a classic, landmark book by the famous Edward R. Tufte, who was has written several seminal books on the topic. The book explains the how-to of the display of data, rather than a how-to of the analysis. Sometimes an analysis of … Read More

Time Stitching

Posted: January 4, 2017, 11:25am I wrote previously about one habit that leads to a more efficient and productive life: time blocking. Today’s topic is another productivity hack. It may appear on first glance that this hack is almost the opposite advice as time blocking. It’s called time stitching: the regular stitching together of small chunks of time in a random yet cumulative manner … Read More

Time Blocking

Posted: January 4, 2017, 11:24am Everyone is busy. You won’t ever hear me trying to boast a tighter schedule than this guy or that guy. I’d rather have an efficient schedule than a busy schedule. But how can I do that? I’d like to share two tricks for clearing up your schedule so that you can accomplish more and still … Read More

Personalized Medicine: What’s Next

Posted: December 28, 2016, 10:59am I’ve written much about the day to day of my PhD life, but now to turn to what excites me about where our field is headed: personalized medicine. In fact, it’s already here in many ways. I have the fortune of attending lab meetings of USC’s own David Agus, an accomplished oncologist and head of … Read More

Reading 2016 (and beyond!)

Posted: December 28, 2016, 10:43am If you’ve known me even for a short time, you’ll quickly find out my love of reading. I pursue reading like the weapon of knowledge that it is. I try to be as fierce as possible when pursuing knowledge: whether it be through learning from someone personally, or learning from someone through their writings. Books … Read More

You are what you listen to

Posted: December 19, 2016, 4:53pm I decided to throw together a quick visualization of the music I’ve been listening to for the past few years. Spotify has a tradition of sending its users their top 100 songs at the end of each year. I was curious if there would be any trends in my data, now that I’ve been a … Read More

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