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What is a Bioinformatician?

Francois JEANMOUGIN pingouin at crystal.u-strasbg.fr
Mon Feb 17 15:59:07 EST 1997

In article <33061547.3B06A42A at tesla.mbi.ucla.edu>,
	Scott Le Grand <legrand at tesla.mbi.ucla.edu> writes:
>Recently, I read the interesting collection of articles on careers
>in Bioinformatics on the NextWave web page (www.nextwave.org) which
>appeared on 2/14/97.
>I present here two contradictory quotes about what hiring managers
>are looking for in potential bioinformaticians:
>The views of Lou DeGennaro of the Molecular Genetics Division of 
>Wyeth-Averst can best be summed up by this quote:
>"We need people who can translate the language of molecular biology
>into the language of computers."
>In contrast, Keith Elliston, Head of Genomics and Informatics at 
>Bayer states:
>"My pet peeve is the biologist-hacker, the programmer-biologist, the 
>jack of all trades and the master of none." 
>These seem like contradictory views to me.  Bayer is apparently
>hiring straight biologists or computer scientists and avoiding
>the interdisciplinary types out there.  At the same time, Wyeth-
>Averst is seeking the same interdisciplinary types that Bayer
>My question is which (if either) of these two views is predominant
>in the industry today?

	I hope I understood the two quotes correctly. I think that they
are both OK. A bioinformatician must be able to use high-performance
systems, so must be able to translate biological data into the computer
language. But he must alsoi be able to extract the results from the computer
into a biological information (that's why it's bioinformatics, and not
	I understood that you can have two types of bioinformatician.
One is a programmer, with a high level in both programming and statistics.
That is for biocomputing. The other is a biologist, that will be able to
correctly interpret the data and give hypothesis to researchers.
	(this is for industry, there is also a lot of fondamental research
in bioinformatics, in structure prediction for example...).

				Hope this helps and is about the reality.

Francois Jeanmougin
Service de bioinformatique / bioinformatics service
IGBMC BP 163 67404 Illkirch France
tel :(France) 03 88 65 32 71 / (international) (+33) 3 88 65 32 71
e-mail : jeanmougin at igbmc.u-strasbg.fr
"C'est pas parcequ'on monte au banc, qu'il faut descendre a jeun." (Thiefaine)

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