My years at Caltech have had an intensity which I may miss some day, many years from now. The people here, however, I will miss as soon as I'm gone. I am thankful that almost every person I have met at Caltech has made the stay more enjoyable. As an advisor, Bill Goddard has been an unforgettable example of what happens when you mix hard work with inspiration, insight, and intelligence. I can only hope that a small part of his chemical intuition, breadth of knowledge, and depth of understanding has rubbed off on me. And I wouldn't mind gaining a bit of his patience and humor, as well.
I cannot possibly acknowledge all the people who have had an impact on me over the years, both as coworkers and as friends. The Goddard group alone has had more than fifty members during my stay. (Hey! I'm not the only one who has been here this long!) However, I would like to acknowledge several people who have contributed to my work. Adel Naylor was my guide to the entire field of computational biology during the early years and has been an invaluable colleague and good friend ever since. Kevin Plaxco has been a seemingly limitless source of information about ``real'' biology, while Naoki Karasawa has helped me to understand just about every computational method I've ever needed to employ. I would also like to thank Terry Coley, Kian-Tat Lim, and Jon Hurley for answering thousands of questions about computers in general and programming in particular. Abhinandan Jain of JPL has been great to work with over the past ten months, while I've worked on making a BIOGRAF verion of his NEIMO dynamics. And Jerry Solomon has provided great insights into protein folding through his work on lattice simulations. I also acknowledge the great work Siddharth Dasgupta has done managing the MMSC and thank him for years of being a mentor to me and the rest of the group. Finally, I want to thank Adria McMillan, Carol Scrivner, and Debbie Chester for doing all the really hard work that has to be done, and for making the Goddard Group a nicer place to work.
It would take several more pages to list all the people who have been good friends over the years, and who have made the time here more enjoyable. However, I have to single out Bob Driscoll and Mike Kosinski, as well as Terry Coley, for being dedicated weightlifting partners for many years. But Bob wasn't supposed to get better than I am. I also want to thank Erik Bierwagen, Charles Musgrave, Jason Perry, and the rest of the people in the Goddard Group, for being such entertaining coworkers, friends, and, sometimes, neighbors. And I especially thank Guanhua Chen for being as great a roommate as he is a scientist, if that's possible. Finally, I want to acknowledge my great appreciation for Paul Smith, who has been both a friend and an inspiration. Science is a noble pursuit, and those who pursue it have given their lives to a worthy cause. But there is a higher calling and a deeper truth to pursue. And Paul has had the courage to follow God wherever He leads.
I feel fortunate to have had a home away from Caltech at Lake Avenue Congregational Church. So I have to thank the men and women of the 7:45 Network Class for keeping me sane and giving me perspective, as well as providing friendship, prayer support, and a lot of fun. Most of all, I thank Dave Plumb, who has been listening to me talk about protein folding for years, without telling me to shut up and talk about something interesting. Dave stood by me through some very rough times as well as some of the best days of my life.
But the people who have been there the longest are my family and I cannot possibly say how much they mean to me. I thank my Dad for always challenging me to go as far as I can, but also for being a friend no matter where I am. And I thank my Mom for her unfailing support and endless optimism. She is the perfect mother for a graduate student and I am eternally thankful for her. My sister, Denise, is also a great source of encouragement and her sense of humor is often like a cool drink on a hot, dry Southern California day. Finally, my brother Brad has always been my best friend, even when he lives 3000 miles away. I hope he always will be. Now that I'm getting out of here, maybe I can see him and Shelly more often - and, of course, Joshua and Jessica, too!
I've saved the best for last and the best is Laura, my wife. I feel like God has blessed me in a thousand ways and has given me more than I could ever deserve. But His greatest gift, besides His own Son, has been the gift of a wife like Laura. Laura has made my life a million times better than it used to be. She will always be my greatest love, my truest friend, and my closest companion. And she helped a lot with this Thesis - proof-reading and aligning figures, certainly, but also by making the rest of my life so enjoyable during the process.
So, I close by thanking God for these people and for getting me through this phase of my life. Whatever good may come of this work, the credit belongs to Him. After all, He already knows how proteins fold.