My journey into the world of Bioinformatics

How many bioinformaticians knew they wanted to specialise in bioinformatics when they were 18 and sitting their A-levels? Probably not a lot.

Considering that bioinformatics is such a specialised and multidisciplinary field, sometimes I think about how I ended up choosing this as my career path. Initially, I went to the University of Kent to study Biomedical Science with the ultimate goal of getting into Graduate Medicine, like the majority of my classmates. When did I decide that medicine wasn’t for me? Probably when I decided I really disliked pharmacology.

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ECCB18 at a glance

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to attend the European Conference of Computational Biology (ECCB) in Athens, Greece. As a proud greek, the moment I saw there was a bioinformatics conference in my home country I really wanted to go, but also it was an excellent opportunity for me to network, create new contacts and ideally find potential elective opportunities. Every trainee, depending on the trust, has a budget allocated by the school to cover the expenses of going to university. If you are not too frivolous when booking your university accommodation, you might end up with some leftover budget that can be used to attend conferences like this one. Don’t be afraid to ask! If you find an event or a conference that you think might be interesting, ask your TO if you can go. Obviously, don’t find the most expensive conference on the other side of the world cause there’s so much your budget can stretch to.

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5 ways coding improves your healthcare

It’s national coding week! To celebrate I wanted to talk about how important coding is in healthcare and put it into perspective for those of you that might read that and think “Coding? How could that possibly influence my healthcare?”

It’s true, I may be a little biased as I am a bioinformatician, so a large part of my job is – you guessed it – coding. However, I really don’t think it will be long before coding will be an essential part of all healthcare science jobs!

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The end of a journey…

AnitaBlack

…But the start of a new one!

Hello everyone! Earlier this week was the STP induction day in Birmingham for all the new trainees. So I thought, as so many people are starting their scientist training journey, what better time to share a look back from someone who is coming to the end of theirs. I asked Verity Fryer, a third year clinical bioinformatics trainee (and now also a fully employed Healthcare Scientist!) in my department some questions about her past 3 years and this is what she had to say:

How do you feel coming to the end of the STP?

Relieved, happy and proud of what I’ve achieved. I can’t quite believe I’ve done it and it’s finished (I submitted and had approved my last competency this morning!).

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Bioinformatics: back in time

history of bioinformaticsOne of the things I love about bioinformatics is how relatively new the field is. Bioinformatics; first coined in 1970’s correspondence between Hesper and Hogeweg as a term to describe “the study of informatics processes in biotic systems”1 has since evolved into an invaluable skill in a biologist’s skillset. As a multi-disciplinary field with a delicate balance of biology, computer science and statistics, it is well-known as the method used to deal with “big data” particularly in the field of genomics. But this isn’t how it started.
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