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Career in Bioinformatics
This is post no. 1 under the main topic.
Bioinformatics, the field of Biotechnology that amalgamates the application of computer technology with the management of Biological data, has emerged as one of the most potent job sectors for bio-technologists all over the world. This article is aimed at updating you all (and obviously getting updates from all of you), about the industrial trends of Bioinformatics. We will focus on following points in this article:
  • The key research areas of Bioinformatics which are garnering the interests of corporate and academic world
  • The kind of internship projects in Bioinformatics that can fetch you a good job
  • Which companies/institutes are worth landing in for a good job/degree in Bioinformatics
and much more..

A Bioinformatician (also dubbed as Computational Bio-Scientist) can work on a broad spectrum of technologies. Major amongst them are:

a. Molecular Modelling and drug designing

b. Computational Systems Biology

c. Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics

d. Forensic scientist

e. Metagenomics researcher

f. Microarray analyst

These research areas/jobs are in-fact the hot topics in Industry and academia alike.

It is thus advised that, if you are targeting a career in Bioinformatics, your projects/internships should be inclined towards one/more of the above mentioned areas/positions. For instance, your project may be something like:

A. Drug Design

1) Selection and characterization of some disorder that you hypothesize/propose to be cured by the molecule/drug you would design in-silico.

2) Identifying  and validating a molecular target relevant to the disease.

3) Proposing an approach that could help identify the lead compounds for development of a drug for the disease you
selected. Post target validation, you would develop a specific biochemical, cell-based, or in silico assay.
Information courtesy: web.chem.ucsb.edu

B. Systems Biology

Systems biology is a broad field. Some typical examples of projects in this field can be:
1) Developing mathematical models for a microbial/human metabolic pathway
2) Metabolic flux analysis
3) Simulating a living cell/being

C. Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics

These three fields are probably the most explored fields of bioinformatics. Typical projects may be like:

a. Genome annotation
b. Analysis of genome/proteome/transcriptome of a diseased person/subject
c. Identifying mutations/SNPs
d. Assembly of a genome

and many more

D. Forensic Scientist

In order to become a forensic scientist through Bioinformatics skills, one should be accustomed to DNA fingerprinting / analysis/extraction of DNA of vulnerable samples.

E. Metagenomics

Metagenomics has attracted the attention of scientific community lately. It refer to the study of DNA recovered directly from various types of environmental samples. The basic aim of metagenomic research remains to identify the microbes associated with an environment; and or various metabolic functions associated with the environment. It's one of the hottest topics of research, and to enter into this field, one can pursue projects like:

a). Identification of microbiota associated with a disease (like microbiota associated with lungs of a lung cancer patient).
b). Understanding various approaches to perform metagenomic analysis
c). Getting deep understanding of various tools used in metagenomic analysis.

F. Microarray Analyst
A microarray analyst as the name suggest would possess the skill set to analyse the complex data generated by microarrays. One would need to get internship in a lab where microarray based research is actively carried out.

Now, let's focus on the companies/institutes which can nurture your career in Bioinformatics:

1. IBM
2. TCS
5. Procter and Gamble
6. Thermo Fisher
7. EMD Serono
8. Biocon
9. Merck
10. Boston Children's Hospital
11. Broad Institute
12. NUS
13. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
14. Beckman Coulter, Inc
15. Kynapse
16. IITs, IIITs, IISc
17. NIBR, Cambridge
18. Qiagen
19. Novartis
20. Thomson Reuters
21. Astra Zeneca
22. GVK Biosciences
23. Cell works
24. PREMIER Biosoft
25. Abott
26. Eli Lilly
27. GSK
28. Sanofi
29. Roche
30. Illumina
31. Pfizer
32. J&J
33. Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Boston University

I'll keep you posted of the updates.

All the best!

Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC

Suggested Reads:
Top Biotech Companies | Top places to work
Indian Biotech Companies and Job Openings
Aiming a PhD in Top Grad School? | These are the Important Points to Consider
Careers in Biotechnology | A list of various Options
Biotechnology Competitive Exams in India

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