What it takes to become a Bioinformatician

Myriam Badawi is a Bioinformatician currently working at the Biology Department of Le Mans University. Myriam does research in Bioinformatics, Evolutionary Biology and Genetics. Her current project is on evolutionary genomics of micro-algae

TASKS & RESPONSIBILITIES

The bioinformatician works at the crossroads between the science of life and computer science. They designs software to help researchers in biology.

With  training in both  life sciences and computer science, bioinformaticians use their computer to help biological research. It designs software that will be used by researchers to develop new drugs, improve quality control in agribusiness or preserve biodiversity. Working in a research institute or an industrial entity, they will:

  • Understand the biologist and interpret his work;
  • Assist the biologist in finding the best solutions for the problems that arise;
  • Create software and databases to collect information from the living (structure of a protein, a genome …)

SKILLS

Professional

  • Programming skills
  • A solid background in mathematics and statistics
  • Experience with the biological software and tools
  • Writing, Reading Comprehension, Presenting, Foreign Languages

Personal

  • Curiosity to explore
  • Management and leadership skills,
  • Complex problem-solving skills,
  • Critical thinking skills,
  • Real vision, robust understanding and deep insight.
  • Active learning skills

HOW TO BECOME A BIONFORMATICIAN:

The job of bioinformatician requires a double competence in the fields of life sciences and computer science. Access to the profession is reserved for holders of a Master degree. Candidates are strongly advised to choose high school, and then move on to a degree in biology or computer science. Only then will they have to specialize. The most sought-after courses for institutes and companies recruiting bioinformaticians are:

  • University master
    Some are addressed to biologists or biochemists while others are reserved for computer scientists. Universities are starting to offer biocomputing courses at the bachelor’s level leading to these two types of masters;
  • Engineering degree in bioinformatics
    Usually offered as an option or as a major last year, bioinformatics is rarely offered as a full-fledged course in engineering schools;
  • PhD
    Since they are specialized in the field of bioinformatics.

Which subjects´ knowledge is essential for a career?

Algorithmic and programming, Web interfaced databases, Scripts, Languages, biostatistics, Mathematics applied to pharmacokinetics, Methodology in biomedical research, Analyzes of large data …

HOW TO GET EXPERIENCE:

You can prepare a portfolio that will give you the opportunity to show to your potential employers what you can actually do. In the portfolio, you can include bioinformatician projects you have worked on either during your studies or in your own time. You can also get involved in any local, national or international meetings of bioinformaticians, participate so summer camps or competitions.

– CAREER PROSPECT:

The fields of bioinformatics and computational biology involve the development and application of tools to make biological discoveries. Bioinformatics is being introduced to high school students in biology classes. There are undergraduate, masters level and Ph.D programs that train student in these fields. In addition, some people enter the field as a biologist who learns how to use the tools or as computer scientists/engineers who are able to build tools. A solid background in both biology and computer science is extremely helpful.

Q: What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
A: It’s a very complex work, because i need some informatic skills, like programming ansd also statistic because i do a lot of analysis. I need to be good in communication as well. Day to day i communicate with biologists and informaticians

Myriam Badawi, Biology Department of Le Mans University

– INQUIRY LEARNING SPACE

Transcription and translation of DNA

Is it good to be beautiful?


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