is far from the best-known field of science jobs, but it is a steadily emerging
and increasingly important one. It has been
described in various ways, including – by the Department of Molecular
Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University – as “the application of computational techniques to analyse the information
associated with biomolecules on a large-scale”.
simpler way to understand it is as an
amalgamation of biology, IT and computer science into a single subject. With
‘big data’ now ubiquitous across a wide range of industries, including life
sciences research, scientists with computer science know-how are well-placed to
take advantage of the ever-increasing breadth of career opportunities in the
burgeoning bioinformatics sector.
What do bioinformaticists do?
Another way to
describe the chief task of a bioinformaticist is as the logging, coding and/or retrieval of all biological information
– especially proteins, DNA and mRNA – in an easily accessible format.
At the most
basic level, a bioinformaticist is responsible for creating and maintaining
databases of biological information. The majority of such databases consist of
nucleic acid sequences and the protein sequences derived from them.
most challenging bioinformatics tasks involve the analysis of sequence
information, encompassing not only the discovery of the genes in DNA sequences but also the development of methods
to predict the structure and/or function
of newly found proteins and structural RNA sequences.
Such duties as
the clustering of protein sequences into families, the alignment of similar
proteins and the generation of phylogenetic trees are also central to the work
of the best-qualified bioinformatics professionals.
Why is bioinformatics becoming so relevant?
It seems that
there has never been a greater amount of biological data being generated than there is now, with the
point at which biology, statistics and computer science cross bringing an
abundance of new and exciting opportunities. Sure enough, professionals with
experience of identifying, compiling, analysing and visualising huge amounts of
biological and healthcare information have also never been in greater demand.
of bioinformatics as its own field has been attributed in part to a change in how
industry and academia perceive it. As one bioinformatics professor, Wim Van Criekinge,
has observed in an article by Science magazine: “Scientists and companies used to look at
bioinformatics as a tool... but the subject has evolved from a service, like
histology, to its own research arena...
bioinformaticists are now the motor of the innovation.”
What are the main bioinformatics employers?
rewarding bioinformatics roles are well-advised to look towards Cambridge,
where several of the big research institutes in this field, including the Wellcome
Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute, can be found.
candidates with bioinformatics skills are also regularly recruited by big
pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca
and GlaxoSmithKline. Finally, there are also various smaller firms making use
of bioinformatics, including those involved in personal care products,
industrial organisms and agricultural applications.
Whatever the bioinformatics
role to which you aspire may be – perhaps as a bioinformatician,
biostatistician, head of bioinformatics or any of a broad range of other jobs –
we can help you to find and secure it here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions.
Learn more about the
depth of specialist expertise that we can offer to bioinformatics candidates, as well as
the relevant available jobs for which you can apply right now.