Tuesday 22 October 2013

Bioinformatics at the top

A few years ago one of our junior group leaders made an interesting appointment; he recruited a bioinformatician into a research assistant role. Every lab has someone, or several people, who keep the lab running. They are the people making sure cells get cultured, supporting post-docs and PhD students, the nuts and bolts of most labs. But this recruitment stood out as the person was being appointed to look after "Big Data", not PCR & gels!

Now we have embedded bioinformaticians and bioinformatic research assistants in many of the groups, especially those heavily using Genomics technologies.

Computational groups seem to have changed too and all those in our Institute now have wet-lab scientists as part of their team. I think this is definitely the way to go and makes it much easier for groups to direct their research in a particular direction.

Computational biologists of all sorts are rapidly cropping up at the top end of the career ladder. In February 2013 Professor Simon Tavare FRS, FMedSci was appointed as Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (the place I work), and earlier this week BBSRC announced that Dr Mario Caccamo has been appointed the Genome Analysis Centre's (TGAC's) new Director.

With statisticians, computational biologists leading the way as Directors of research institutions and not just as group leaders I wonder if we'll see a slightly different angle on some of our research?

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