You made it here! Hmmmm, where to start? Well, you probably figured out by now, I’m Robert Petit. But did you know I was born in the Philippines? And, I grew up in the military (Air Force)? Since we moved a lot, its kind of hard to point at a location and say “this is where I’m from”. But, if I had to pick one I would say Georgia (USA), considering I’ve lived here more than 20 years!
I completed my undergrad at Valdosta State University in Biology, somehow during this time I was able to change my major 6 times, it was quite the adventure! I did meet my wife during one of those majors (middle grades education), so it all worked out! I then wound up in Atlanta, Georgia for Georgia Tech’s the Bioinformatics graduate program. Honestly, the first semester was a bit rough and I was on the verge of calling it quits. Luckily, I was introduced to Dr. Tim Read and a great partnership was formed! I would join Tim’s lab as a bioinformatician and soon after joined the Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution (PBEE) program at Emory University for my PhD. During my PhD I had the opportunity to work on some really exciting projects including the Whale Shark genome, MRSA transmission within households, Bacillus anthracis typing, and Staphopia. Soon after completing my PhD, I took Staphopia to the next level and expanded to all bacteria with the development of Bactopia. Currently, I’m in the great state of Wyoming helping the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory build up their bioinformatics capacity.
When I’m not battling imposter syndrome, I do in fact do have a life (yes, I’ve been asked if I have a life in a meeting 🤷♂️). I love spending time with my family! Haha my kids are getting to the age where we can be trouble makers together! I enjoy reading YA fiction, light novels, web novels, comics/mangas, etc… Some of favorites include One Piece, DanMachi, Solo Leveling, Percy Jackson, Lemony Snicket, honestly so many others! I’m also somewhat handy, so usually my wife and I are working on fun little wood working projects.
🎓 Doctor of Philosophy
Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution, Emory University, 2018
My PhD was with with Dr. Timothy Read and focused on bacterial genomic analysis. It’s honestly amazing how rapidly the field changed from my start (2013) and my finish (2018) of my PhD. During this time, I helped in a lot of projects, but my dissertation chapters included Staphylococcus aureus viewed from the perspective of 40,000+ genomes (Staphopia), Fine-scale differentiation between Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus cereus group signatures in metagenome shotgun data, and an unpublished review on barriers to horizontal gene transfer in Staphylococcus aureus.
🎓 Master of Science
Bioinformatics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011
During my masters I worked with Dr. Timothy Read and Dr. King Jordan on the very (very very) early stages of Staphopia. I also submitted annotations to GenBank, which were critical for a genome announcement publication. This might not seem like much now, but in 2011 saying you successfully submitted annotations to GenBank in less than a month was actually something to brag about! (Lee Katz will vouch for me!)
🎓 Bachelor of Science
Biology, Valdosta State University, 2010
Undergrad, was an adventure. I changed my major a lot, but hovered around Education, Computer Science and Biology. Favorite classes were probably Ecology and Botany (I have a green thumb!). I spent a summer helping Dr. Colleen McDonough catch and tag nine-banded armadillos for her behavioral ecology studies.
🛠️ Senior Bioinformatics Scientist
Wyoming Public Health Laboratory, Cheyenne, WY, 2021-present
I am developing the bioinformatics capacity for Wyoming Public Health Laboratory and facilitating bioinformatic training.
🛠️ Senior Data Analyst
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2018-2021
I worked as a bioinformatician in Tim Read’s lab, but also the Georgia Emerging Infections Program. Much of my work involved developing Bactopia, working on my own projects, providing support for the lab, and maintaining those servers.
🛠️ Information Analyst III
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2011–2013
I worked as a bioinformatician in Tim Read’s lab, where I developed protocols to streamline the analysis of bacterial sequencing projects locally and on Amazon Web Services. I worked on collaborative projects with other Emory researchers, Centers for Disease Control, Georgia Aquarium and University of Chicago. I also took on the role of lab meetings organizer and maintained multiple Unix servers critical to the group.
🛠️ Network and Systems Administrator
Total Technology Integrators, Valdosta, GA, 2005–2010
I joined as a part-time IT Technician and progressed to a Network and Systems Administrator. In this position I helped manage the recommendation, installation, and ongoing maintenance of IT related infrastructure for several local companies. I also developed software to help monitor infrastructure and standardized protocols to improve job turn-around times.
🛠️ Software Developer and Technician
Charleston Credit Adjustment Bureau, Charleston, SC, 2004–2005
I developed software on Windows and Unix to efficiently process confidential financial and personal information. I also acted as the “IT Department” role within the company, by providing computer related repairs to more than 50 employees.