David Wild, Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Informatics

Article ImageName With The Face:
David Wild

Job Title:
Assistant Professor

Indiana University School
of Informatics


Job Function:
David Wild is an assistant professor in the interdisciplinary School of Informatics at Indiana University. He is also associate director of the Cheminformatics program, an emerging field focused on the interface between informatics, chemistry, and drug discovery. Wild says, "Like all professors, my main missions are to do world-class research and to do my best to help the next generation of students find their place in the world. And I hope to make a difference for the good."

Wild, who recently won a $120,000 1-year grant from Eli Lilly and Co. to research ways to mine public chemical and biological information data, says being an academic requires a different mind-set than his previous corporate job. "In industry, you really have to work together all the time with your peers. In academia, it’s the opposite: You carve out a niche all for yourself." Despite this, Wild likes collaboration and maintains strong links with other academics and industry partners.

In A Day’s Work:
Wild says his day is much more routine than some academics, not least because he has two very active young children and twins due any moment, guaranteeing an early start to his day. "I start work about 8 a.m. It’s then straight into the early email from Asia and Europe, and after that I try to get a chunk of research done before lunch," says Wild.

He then typically meets with some students, teaches classes, attends meetings, checks email again, then tries to get home before 5 p.m. to see his children again before bed. "Evening email is now impossible to avoid," says Wild, "but I try to make sure I have some real fun time with the kids before I get stuck on the computer again."

Most Memorable Student Encounter:
As someone who loves cooking, Wild likes reversing roles and getting culinary lessons from his international students. "I can now cook a half decent Korean Jap Che and a stonkingly hot fish curry, and I know a super trick to make Indian naan breads from Pillsbury dough. I am still trying to find a French and Italian student to complete my portfolio."

View From The Desk:
"I have a really nice view out onto the Indiana University campus, and I try to take a bit of time each day to appreciate the outdoors." 

Outside Interest:
"I’m a member of a local search and rescue team. I’m also interested in anything outdoors, the use of informatics in disasters, playing with gadgets, and theology."

If Not Econtent, Then What?
"It would have to be something outdoors like a park ranger or a fireman. More realistically, I nearly went into physics instead of computer science and did flirt with theological training. I dream of running a little cafe when I retire."