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Bioinformatics FAQ
Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Monday, May 28, 2001 (7 comments)
Submitter Do you want to know what this thing called ``bioinformatics'' really is, how to get involved in the field, what books you might need to read, what educational programs you might want to pursue, or where to get a job? Well, Damian Counsell, at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, got so tired of hearing those questions (JK) that he wrote a FAQ. And you can find the FAQ here at Bioinformatics.org, as a feature of the site. Contributions are needed and welcome.

URL:
http://bioinformatics.org/faq/

Discussion forums: Bioinformatics FAQ

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Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by Damian Counsell; posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001
Submitter Dear "Misstorr" I didn't go through the US educational system myself, but Jeff's advice seems pretty sensible to me. While it seems that undergraduate bioinformatics courses are beginning to appear and will probably become normal at biology faculties there's a lot to be said for mastering one of the component disciplines of bioinformatics before tackling an/(the )other. You say you still want to be in the medical field. This seems a worthwhile goal, but I must warn you that, at the moment at least, bioinformatics is as far away from the bedside as you can get. The Institute of Cancer Research, where I work, is associated with a famous specialist cancer hospital in London, but I have nothing to do with patients as people. This suits me fine (and I write as a med-school drop-out), but it might not be to your taste. One day, when we all have our genomes stored on smart cards and we think nothing of popping round to our local consultant geneticist to specify our future offspring, some bioinformaticists will probably be paramedical professionals. For the moment we're a sub-species of geek---and probably a lot better paid as a result :-) . all the best Damian



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Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by Nobody; posted on Friday, June 01, 2001
I was wondering If anyone could answer my question. Im in a pivotal point in my life right now and i was trying to decide what to major in! ... I love computers but by the same token i still want to be in the medical field! Which after researching on the net BioInformatics seems like something very interesting. My question is, is Majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Biology, sufficient enough to pursue a career in this Bio Informatics field or not? If someone who is in this field could respond to me, that would be great!! Im at Misstorr@hotmail.com
Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by Nobody; posted on Saturday, June 02, 2001
A major in CS and a minor in Biology (or visa versa) should be sufficient, but it's not required. Because there aren't any BS majors in bioinformatics, most people cross-train in grad school or later. Jeff
Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by Damian Counsell; posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001
Submitter Dear "Misstorr" I didn't go through the US educational system myself, but Jeff's advice seems pretty sensible to me. While it seems that undergraduate bioinformatics courses are beginning to appear and will probably become normal at biology faculties there's a lot to be said for mastering one of the component disciplines of bioinformatics before tackling an/(the )other. You say you still want to be in the medical field. This seems a worthwhile goal, but I must warn you that, at the moment at least, bioinformatics is as far away from the bedside as you can get. The Institute of Cancer Research, where I work, is associated with a famous specialist cancer hospital in London, but I have nothing to do with patients as people. This suits me fine (and I write as a med-school drop-out), but it might not be to your taste. One day, when we all have our genomes stored on smart cards and we think nothing of popping round to our local consultant geneticist to specify our future offspring, some bioinformaticists will probably be paramedical professionals. For the moment we're a sub-species of geek---and probably a lot better paid as a result :-) . all the best Damian
Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by James Thompson; posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2001
I found myself in much the same situation last year, really wanting to major in computer science but also wanting to have the option of being in the medical field someday. Right now I'm pursuing the (almost existent) bioinformatics program at the Rochester Institute of Technology (http://bioinformatics.rit.edu), and I've got to say it's pretty interesting. My school is just starting this program, and I get the impression that a few schools are starting to offer more than just a class or two on the subject. For me, commiting to only biology or computer science sounded a little boring for me, so bioinformatics as an undergraduate major is working out great (so far). I'd like to ask a slightly related question: What do people working in the actual industry think of the evolving undergraduate degree programs in bioinformatics? Is post-graduate specialization vital to getting a job as a bioinformaticist, or can you find a job with just an undergraduate degree?
Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Submitter That's a good question for the Bio BB. My guess is that undergrad programs are so new and few that there aren't many people in industry who can comment on them. As for needing a grad degree, well, anyone wanting to be universally (not just in one comany) acknowledged as a "scientist" will need advanced studies, perhaps even multiple post-doctoral appointments. But, if industry is desperate enough for help, especially for technicians, they'll surely take people without grad work. I recall in the 1980's that computer companies grabbed people out of high school to do programming, being in such need of help. The result was an influx of new people earning comp sci degrees and getting high-paying jobs. After a while things cooled down, and there were many first-time layoffs (e.g., Digitial). There's no reason to believe that the bioinformatics field won't follow a similar course.
Computer Science & Biology
Submitted by Nobody; posted on Friday, August 03, 2001
Don't know if this will help you, but i am applying for Med school right now and the University of Pittsburgh sent me some information reguarding their med school. At the bottom it mentioned a concentraion in Biomedical informatics in addition to the M.D degree. i am going to try to find more information. If anyone else has anything about a possible clinical MD/bioinformatic degree it would be great if you could share what you find with me at Ziongaze@hotmail.com

 

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