About me

I’m a data scientist, bioinformatics scientist, neuroscientist, and educator.

I studied biochemistry at UCLA, earned my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Yale University, and performed postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute. My research on neural plasticity was fueled by my interests in learning. I investigated signaling mechanisms in a neurogenic niche and the molecular changes that occur within neurons in response to an organism having new experiences. A list of my publications can be found here.

My academic work led to life science industry positions. I initially worked at Fluidigm Corporation as a product applications scientist, a multi-faceted role that included generating customer-facing data analyses, educating internal staff and customers, and serving as a technical liasion for product management. From there, I served as a bioinformatics scientist, supporting R&D efforts. Examples of external-facing data content I generated can be found here. I was then a fellow at Insight Data Science where I sought to further learn about the latest data science practices through a self-directed, collaborative, and fast-paced environment. The program exposes fellows to a diversity of problems through execution of projects outside of our formally trained fields (such as this.) I am currently a Data Science Health Innovation Fellow in a program affiliated with UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Johnson & Johnson.

I have extensive experience performing independent research, analyzing and interpreting complex data sets, optimizing data analysis, and communicating my results through oral and written presentations. A glance over my shoulder and you’ll likely see a Linux terminal, a Python Jupyter notebook, or RStudio.

In parallel to my work experiences, I have been engaged in various educational efforts. While I was an undergraduate, I served as an AmericaReads tutor. During graduate school, I mentored elementary and middle-school age children on a weekly basis, in addition to my teaching fellow responsibilities. When I was in my postdoc, I served as a consultant to educators interested in knowing more about the brain. I then started to guest lecture on neural stem cells in an online course. Finally, my first biotech role included instruction in classroom, lab, and online formats.

In my spare time (and in the absence of a global pandemic), I can be found surfing, hiking, or eating with my wife somewhere in California. Mexican food is my weakness. I can be reached at ben.lacar AT gmail.com.