Got Neurotree? Got Psych, Fly, Physics, Marine Ecology…phew!

August 16, 2010

It has been a while since we’ve discussed Neurotree.org, a data base of training genealogy focused on the training and collaborative relationships between neuroscientists. If Academic Family concepts are new to you, it is pretty simple. If you trained as a postdoc in the lab of Professor Richard Schwanger, ol’ Dick becomes your academic parent. Likewise, since Dick trained as a graduate student in the laboratory of Professor Hairley Bleu, she becomes your academic grandparent. I’ll leave it up to you to work out who your second cousins, once removed, are.
At any rate, I happened to wonder about the academic family of Marc D. Hauser recently (for obvious reasons) and this reminded me of Neurotree.
Check out this analysis. Nice steady growth across the years although it is interesting that a traditional Fall boost in entries didn’t last past 2008 (like I said, it has been a while since I reviewed the Neurotree site in any depth).
Also, note the expansion of the project into PsychTree, FlyTree, PhysicsTree, Marine Ecology Tree…actually, Madre de Dios, they’re doing everything!
The academictree.org site seems to be the root. Infectious Disease? Philosophy?
Go sign in and add yourself.
This is different from all the social media strategies seeking to be the scientific version of Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, if you ask me. This is an archival record of training histories and academic relationships which serves both as an interesting history-of-science type of resource as well as a concurrent networking tool. Six Degrees of Isaac Newton is a fun party game but what really makes this a real career asset is the networking. It doesn’t take very long for the knowledge of who previously trained in the lab you (postdocs and gradstudents) inhabit to dissipate. Sure, you could grill the PI about all of her previous trainees..but c’mon. Neurotree (or your relevant subdiscipline tree) allows you to browse about up and down the families to find out who knows which person that you might tap for your next training stop, collaboration or a key bit of advice.
Of course, these trees are only as valuable as they are populated. A more complete tree means a better tool for networking.
So go on over and search for your name in a relevant tree. Somebody may already have added you but if not it is simplicity to create a login and enter yourself. See if you can find anyone else in your tree and create the familial link. Search out people in your field and see if some key relationship is missing- link up other folks.
If you see an error somewhere, shoot an email off to the listed contacts and get it corrected.
In short, participate.

6 Responses to “Got Neurotree? Got Psych, Fly, Physics, Marine Ecology…phew!”

  1. gw Says:

    The math(s) community has been doing this since 1997:
    http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/index.php

    Like

  2. lylebot Says:

    The Math Genealogy Project removed a bunch of computer scientists from their database at some point. I don’t know why, and as far as I can tell there is no public notice that they did so, but many CSists that I used to be able to find there are no longer there. Most of them could track their academic lineage back to the usual common-ancestor mathematicians like Bernoulli, so I don’t really understand why they were removed. Shouldn’t one of the interesting things about a project like this be to see how new fields evolve from old ones?

    Like

  3. mxh Says:

    Kind of cool to be traced back to William of Occam in Neurotree.

    Like

  4. metin2 hile Says:

    I tried to do this for a science project as a kid…but the results weren’t exactly reproducible. 🙂 Awesome photo!

    Like


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  6. I may have mentioned this on DrugMonkey before but the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) has been running an “Abel Number” initiative since the society’s centennial. GSK (a drug company – argh!) sponsors buttons one can wear with your number of training generations removed from Abel.
    My nymsake is considered the father of North American pharmacology have brought the true discipline over from Germany from Buchheim and Schmiedeberg (considered *the* father of modern pharmacology), co-founding ASPET and the Journal of Pharmacology and Exp Therapeutics (JPET), and launching the departments of pharmacology at Hopkins and Michigan.
    My Abel number? N/A
    I’m one of the misfits who trained in a pharmacology department with a molecular biologist who traces his lineage up eukaryotic and prokaryotic DNA replication.

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