bioinformatics - is it s good field?

Nov 12, 2019 12 Comments

id like to make progress and hopefully have more meaningful work - anyone know about bioinformatics and what i can do with it


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TOP 12 Comments
  • Myriad Genetics blacklit
    I have been a software engineer in the bioinformatics field for over a year now. I would say the bifx field in the genetics industry has 2 sides. One is the scientific biology part of it, where you iterate over your exisiting pipeline (R&D) to improve the performance of your predictive model, e.g imrove accuracy of calling a certain disease when seeing a certain mutation at a particular site in DNA.

    The other side is the SWE side. This involves creating and maintaining bioinformatics pipelines that can handle the sequenced DNA data and curate the results from millions of possibilities into things the doctor and the patient can understand. Bifx pipelines are different in the sense that this industry is regulated. So, unlike your average prod pipeline (Amazon/23&me), any changes to the pipeline has to be approved by FDA/other authorities. A lot of interesting engineering aspect comes from need for data provenance (all patient data/outcome needs to be stored for 7 years). You need to be able to pin the exact version of every single aspect that went into procuring the output for that patient. That means everything has to be backwards compatible. Also, if a latter update to a pipeline produces a different result for a patient that's important, they need to be notified of it, etc, etc

    Whatever side you work on, it's definitely a rewarding field. Our on calls always have a section carved out for videos and emails from patients just letting us know their stories about how our tests saved their babies / helped them prepare better, and how grateful they are, and that in and of itself is fulfilling. Of course, it's not all roses, and the industry as a whole is in a slump. Most companies in the field operate at a loss (think Uber) because the cost of sequencing DNA is pretty high (many manual lab steps)
    Nov 13, 2019 0
  • What do you want to do in the space? I've been intrigued myself
    Nov 12, 2019 6
    • Northrop Grumman sutnam123
      Maybe more computational biology stuff, but mainly trying to figure out genetic components as to why certain diseases occur.

      Personally, I have an incurable disease EDS/POTS so maybe see if I can look into that as well and maybe find out which genetic mutations cause the version I have lol.
      Nov 12, 2019
    • Northrop Grumman sutnam123
      How do they use bioinformatics for that? That’s pretty interesting and it seems like that’s outside of the typical genetic stuff that I see bioinformatics is all about
      Nov 12, 2019
    • 23andme style. There's a future for this in wearables but I don't think the current tech is quite there yet
      Nov 13, 2019
    • Also sorry to hear about your situation.. but that's typically a great reason to start a move to another industry or start your own company altogether ✌️🤙
      Nov 13, 2019
    • Illumina tech lead
      WGS for RUGD/Cancer. Lots of research on this.
      Nov 13, 2019
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical tadada
    I work on computational biology in a pharma and I would say it’s hard to get into the science part of it. Scientist-level positions typically require PhDs (e.g., in bioinformatics, computer science). While it’s intriguing to see what a new molecule can do in mouse and maybe human, it doesn’t give you many chances to use novel methods and techniques. And sometimes communicating with biologists isn’t easy as they often don’t know much about bioinformatics, math and software engineering. Plus, for people already having a PhD in bioinformatics or computer science, roles like data scientists or software engineers may be much more interesting and lucrative.
    Nov 14, 2019 0
  • Lol
    Nov 12, 2019 1
  • Gilead Sciences NlIs78
    For leadership to feel you have a relevant say in impactful decisions you need a PhD. If you just want to do swe grunge work having any kind of stats background works. Overall bioinformatics is basically becoming data science in the bio domain so... you’re basically going to be a data scientist.
    Nov 19, 2019 0


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