CTSI Spotlight: Eric Meeks

Eric Meeks

Eric Meeks is the Technical Architect for the Virtual Home (VH) Team at CTSI, which created Open Research Networking Gadgets (ORNG) and manages UCSF Profiles.

How long have you worked at UCSF?

A little more than 5 years.
What do you do at UCSF and how is it connected to the UCSF mission?

I’m the technical architect for the Virtual Home team at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTS). I work on a variety of products and the work can range from architectural consultation to hands on development and even “technical operations” to make sure that our systems are up and running.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?

The most challenging part is the endless operational work to keep the systems happy. Outside of academia I’ve always worked with organizations that would have an entire group dedicated to technical operations.  We don’t have that, and the burden falls on me. The most rewarding part is knowing that our work can help to accelerate health science, and have a real and positive impact on people's lives.
What do you like most about your work related to Virtual Home?

UCSF Profiles and OpenSocial (more here) are what I enjoy the most. My background is in consumer products and I’ve realized, I just like that space. It’s nice to have your work be seen by such a large audience. The other thing I know is that I truly enjoy working on something new. If it’s something that has been done before I find it hard to get excited. In our group we are currently adding Linked Data capabilities into OpenSocial. It’s extremely powerful when you put Linked Data and OpenSocial together, and from what I understand we are the first ones to do it. I think that’s great.
What are some things that people may not know about the work you do?

That talking is more important than coding. Being able to explain a technical approach to a non-technical group is critical for getting the support I need for the work we do.
If you chose another career path outside UCSF what would it be?
I’m not sure. I like startups more than anything corporate, so I would need to find a place that has that type of a dynamic feel. A place where I can dress like a slob and not have it kill my career. I do enjoy the social networking space, and I do enjoy having a job that has some societal benefit and isn’t just about making money. I’d try and find something with those ingredients.
What's something that your colleagues or members of the UCSF community might be surprised to know about you?
In an ideal world, I would never wear socks. Having to wear socks bugs me.
What are your favorite things to do with your free time?

Anything outdoors. When I cook, I like to grill. When I exercise, it’s not in a gym. When the weather is nice, I force my family to have dinner outside.
And all of these things are best done without socks of course.

CTSI Spotlight is part of an ongoing series that offers an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn more about the wide range of people who make CTSI's work possible. See all featured faculty and staff.