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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

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find related articles. powered by google. USNews.Com Slicing and dicing the facts of life
"Christian Burks spent a good part of the past four years hunting for an elusive fruit-fly gene that could lead to new treatments for human cancer. But Burks wasn't peering down a microscope or, indeed, doing anything traditionally considered biology. Instead, he led a team that used computers to sift through massive amounts of DNA data, then exploited mathematical tools to predict which of the fly's 13,000 genes was likely to be a tumor suppressor.

Burks is a top practitioner in the crucial new field of "bioinformatics," the marriage of information technology and biology. Thanks to rapid advances in deciphering the genetic code, scientists are generating an exploding volume of biological data that can be stored and analyzed only by computer–for instance, billions of bits of information on gene sequence, individual genetic differences, and protein structure. A bioinformatics specialist helps other scientists work more efficiently–the kind of behind-the-scenes role that usually gets little credit in science, where oversize egos are as common as in Hollywood."
redux [09.19.00]
find related articles. powered by google. SFGate Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds Molecular biology, programming is gold Programming skills, molecular biology can pay big dividends
"If job searching were a poker game, Alan Williams would be sitting pretty with a full house.

Fresh out of graduate school, he happens to have a rare combination of skills that drives employers to offer hefty salaries, stock options and bonuses. And it's not even a dot-com job.

Williams has a combination of computer programming and molecular biology know- how. His job is to use computers to mine the vast store of data in the human genome model."

redux [09.01.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Science : NextWave Bioinformatics Feature
[requires paid registration]
"Since Next Wave last covered bioinformatics, in our July 1996 Profiles of Bioinformaticians and February 1997 Bioinformatics Skills features, the prominence of the bioinformatician's role in modern biology has only increased. This month, Next Wave provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of bioinformatics, from the funding situation in Europe and the U.S. to the new bioinformatics degree programs and the immediate hiring needs of industrial and academic labs around the world.”

redux [07.25.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Advogato Hacking your genome
"Are you a hacker? Do you yearn for something more important to work on than yet-another-gnome-applet? Are you annoyed that you can't find a problem that is fun to code and stretches your brain in new ways... bioinformatics might be the answer."

"The amount of data is growing faster than anyone expected and only a handful of people can both remain with academic ideals and coding potential. We need hackers to join any number of projects out there. And there are a host to join. If you just liking hacking perl or you prefer compiler technology, there is something to suit you. "

redux [06.27.00]
find related articles. powered by google. The Boston Globe Bioinformatics : In the spotlight
"A fast-growing field known as bioinformatics uses computing to analyze the vast amount of biological, genomic, and related research to make sense of things too complex for the human brain to fathom.

But bioinformatics is also a bottleneck for many drug and biotech companies that can't find enough talented software engineers who combine sophisticated analysis tools with an understanding of genomics.

''We resolve the bioinformatics issue [by hiring] two people: one who understands computer science and the biologist or researcher,'' said Kenneth Fasman, vice president and global head of informatics of AstraZeneca LLC in Waltham."

"...according to Dr. Donald Johnson, a pathologist at the Nebraska University Medical Center. He estimated there are about 60,000 jobs available to scientists and managers versed in bioinformatics."

redux [05.10.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Hiring Patterns Experienced by Students Enrolled in Bioinformatics/Computational Biology Programs
"As expected, salaries for the most part climb as the level of training rises, starting in the $40,000-$50,000 range for BAs and reaching over $100,000 for one post doc. But there are exceptions. For example, two of the three undergraduates who were placed received salaries between $50,0000 to $60,000. This is higher than that earned by seven of the masters students, although ten of the nineteen masters students for whom we have salary information earn more than $60,000. One masters student received a starting salary of over $100,000. Reported salaries for five hires at the doctorate level are over $70,000. One is between $80,000 to $90,000; another is over $100,000; yet another is between $60,000 to $70,000. Three post docs received placements with a salary between $80,000 to $90,000. One post doc was placed at a salary of over $100,000. One institution reported that one or more masters student(s) received a signing bonus."

"The results of our current survey make it clear that the majority of these jobs are not being filled by graduates of formal programs—who by our count represent about 15 percent of the positions advertised in 1997. And, we believe the 15 percent figure to be an overestimate given that ads have been growing over time and our most recent ad count is for 1997, a year earlier than our hiring data. This leads us to infer that most of the advertised positions are being filled by individuals trained in informal programs and by individuals who change jobs. The distinct possibility exists that a number of these jobs remain vacant for a period of time, an issue not studied here. Furthermore, our pipeline estimates (see Table 2) lead us to conclude that the number of individuals currently enrolled in formal programs falls far short of the number of positions that have recently been advertised."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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