Day in the life of
Bioinformatics Scientist – Dr. Jianjun Shi, PhD
My day usually begins the same way most office jobs start. That is by answering various emails from coworkers and clients. But after that, it gets very scientific. Kimera Labs manufactures exosomes, which are nano-scale extracellular vesicles – very small packages of signaling information one thousandth the size of a cell. They are produced by virtually every cell type as a means of intercellular communication. This natural paracrine signaling system allows a healthy body to run like a well-oiled machine. Part of my job entails RNA sequencing, so after replying to emails, I often begin my day by running a new sequencing or checking on the previous run. We are studying the ways different genes express themselves, hoping to find new and interesting gene expressions that might be useful in treating disease or generating tissue. So, a lot of my day is spent processing raw sequencing data using different software and databases. That also entails writing scripts to do specific analysis tasks. After that, it boils down to preparing the various analysis results for presentation or discussion among my colleagues and peers. I also spend a lot of time reading academic papers and developing or optimizing the analysis pipeline.
I spend about 50% of my time developing or optimizing the analysis pipeline and maybe 30% of my time preparing for the next sequencing run and prepping analysis results for presentation, 10% of my time doing research, and another 10% reading papers
Well, the pros are it’s a highly paid job that allows me the privilege of doing what I love while benefiting all mankind. Still, you must be equipped with multiple skillsets and a broad array of knowledge and aptitude in biology and computer science. Knowing Python and R is a must.
The biggest con is that you need a very long period of education and training and lifelong learning is required to keep up with new developments in bioinformatics and biology. The job requires extensive knowledge, skills, and experience.
conduct research using bioinformatics theory and methods in areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical technology, biotechnology, computational biology, proteomics, computer information science, biology and medical informatics. May design databases and develop algorithms for processing and analyzing genomic information, or other biological information.