Saturday, September 18, 2004

Definition of bioinformatics

Had an interesting discussion about the definition of bioinformatics. A senior bioinformaticist (thanks kirwilliam! :)) at my University was on the committee to approve my doctorate program. For him, a PhD in bioinformatics should ONLY be involved in the programming of new software. I believe in (and submitted) a more balanced approach, with both wetlab and software development. The wetlab part involve almost exclusively microarrays (and their subsequent analysis, which as you may know involve PLENTY of bioinformatics tools). The software development part will improve and automate current analysis techniques of microarrays (can't really say more at the moment, except if you want to participate! :)). To make a long story short, we argued about it for about an hour, and my PhD application was accepted (they changed only the program's title, from "bioinformatics" to "bioinformatics and retrovirology") ... but this made my realize that the definition of the bioinformatics field, and thus what is a bioinformaticist (and what he's supposed to do) is still somewhat vague, leaving place to interpretation. I'll say it again, in my opinion a balanced approach is to be privileged : it helps you understand biological problems better.

As a side note, this blog got past the 500 hits mark, which I'm kinda proud of (I know, it's nothing, but it's my first website ever, so everything counts ;)). If you have suggestions of things I could add / change, please let me know. In the future, I plan to write short reviews of bioinformatics software (commercial or not) I use, random thoughts, plans to save the world, etc... :)

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