This interview is the first in a series of Q&As with the JMP Genomics development team, who recently released JMP Genomics 5. Today, we meet statistical developer Wendy Czika.
Wendy is a statistical developer for JMP Genomics who focuses on processes to find associations between genetic markers and traits or diseases. She has worked at SAS for 12 years, starting out as a Technical Student testing such SAS products as SAS Enterprise Miner.
Wendy got her start in software development by being in the right place at the right time: "I was working at SAS, working on my dissertation on statistical genetics and happened to know C (the language SAS procedures are written in) when SAS was getting interested in putting together a product for analyzing genomics data." She became a developer for that new product.
Arati: What do you like most about JMP and JMP Genomics?
Wendy: JMP has wonderful interactive visualizations, and JMP Genomics combines that with the powerful statistical tools in SAS.
Arati: What’s new in JMP Genomics 5 in your area of focus?
Wendy: I implemented methods for association testing with rare variants, SNP-SNP interactions, multiple traits, and multiple SNPs within a gene, and for detecting LD blocks, to name a few.
Arati: What’s most exciting to you as a developer?
Wendy: The way our product is designed and because of our small team, we are all involved in three different aspects of development: creating the user interface for our processes, writing the code for performing the statistical analysis and then coming up with ways to graphically represent the results. I’m pretty sure these three tasks require very different parts of the brain, so it’s fun to be involved in the whole process!
Arati: What do you like to do in your free time?
Wendy: My two young kids take up most of my free time, but I enjoy reading, traveling, playing piano, and watching baseball, football and college basketball.
Arati: Pick two (or more if you like) of the following to identify: your favorite programming language, favorite algorithm, favorite formula, favorite theorem or favorite software tool.
Wendy: My favorite formula is the quadratic formula, which I actually use from time to time, and my favorite programming language is the SAS macro language.