I am Vivek, a PhD student with Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) at University of Michigan Medical School. I earned my bachelors and masters in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India.

This blog (called shorts) is a destination to satisfy my cravings for writing, communicating science, code, and books. The blog name also encapsulates my philosophy of being as concise and clear as possible at these things.

My older blog is retired and all previous posts are now archived. A few useful posts from my older blog are:

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Science provides intellectual freedom. It enables us to explore and understand the nature of reality around us—from tiny atoms, living cells and organisms, to the magnanimous universe.

Doing science requires a careful and systematic investigation, perseverance, and an unshakable curiosity to seek knowledge. However, many mistake the path of science to be cold and lonely. It is not. It cannot be. It is the most intellectual and largest collective experience of the mankind.

Thus, all my efforts—internships, projects, term papers, conferences—are a desperate reflection of my desire to become a useful member of this community, and to develop and explore own niche.

I am interested in understanding the structure of genome and its evolution at molecular and as well as systems level, how it alters the cell phenotype and leads to complex genetic diseases. I wish to work in omics driven areas that draw heavily from integrated experimental, quantitative, and computational approaches.

Previously, I have worked in Dr. Gustavo Glusman in Dr. Leroy Hood’s lab at Institute for Systems Biology, and Prof Sandhya S Vishweswariah at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Lastly, a (tiny) list of published, public, or in progress work where I have contributed:

O’Neill, Rai, Kilpatrick; The International Society for Computational Biology and WikiProject Computational Biology: Celebrating Ten Years of Collaboration Towards Open Access. Bioinformatics 2017. (abstract, pdf)

Priyam, Woodcroft, Rai et al; Sequenceserver: A modern graphical user interface for custom BLAST databases. Biorxiv 2015. (abstract, pdf)

Klein, Gupta, Rai et al; Monitoring the Gender Gap with Wikidata Human Gender Indicators. Opensym 2016. (abstract, pdf)


I am hooked to open-source software development — an ambitious outgrowth of my personal interest to create free (as in free speech!) and open-source content. During summer 2016, I was selected for Google Summer of Code program, where I contributed to OpenSNP.org under umbrella of Open Bioinformatics Foundation.

I am also one of the founding members of MetaKGP.

Few projects with my significant contributions are:

I use GNU/Linux, keep files under version control, and use Vim.

I have used Python, R, Ruby, JavaScript, MATLAB, BASH in my works.


I am interested in the ideas of quantified self, lateral thinking, language and learning, anthropology, and open-access knowledge.


I enjoy hiking, table tennis, long walks, camping, open-spaces, and coffee.