The field of bioinformatics


#1

Is this a field that will grow? Is there a market for it? And can I make a living in bioinformatics?


#2

Bioinformatics can be split into 2 big parts - one is handling high throughput biological data and the other deals with creating complex models from all that data.

We can now obtain massive amounts of information and data in biology, and this can only keep on growing. DNA sequencing gains more and more terrain. You can utilise sequencing for RNA expression analysis. Moreover there’s a market for creating new assays that convert a certain biological state into DNA sequences which can be identified, for example nucleosome positions or viability of a gene knockout

In the same way, mass spectrometry has changed proteomics and metabolomics. Apart from this, there’s microscopy, with higher and greater content at greater and higher resolutions. And then there’s cell sorting. So quite a few things that bioinformatics helps with.

The thing is, with all that information, we can construct progressively complex models. Metabolic processes can be modeled for simple organisms. And larger datasets for training and screening designs.

But in the end, this is only interesting if it feeds back into real biology. The level of bioinformatics skills one needs to have in order to be a skilled biologist will continue to grow. A few years back only a few people used to use BLAST, whereas now everyone seems to know what that is. However there will always be a cadre of specialists creating brand-new strategies and pushing the limitations of what can be done.