Ten years ago—to the month—we witnessed the release of a fully mapped human genome. April 2003 marked the beginning of a new kind of science. We were given the task of analyzing a sequence that could fill thousands of books, and the concept of personalized medicine took on a whole new meaning. Since then, a monstrous heap of virtual data, in which exists answers to questions that have puzzled scientists for centuries, has been stored in labs around the world. But how do we mine that data?
The theme of this month’s issue is team science and bioinformatics. Teams of biologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and researchers from varying disciplines are uniting to form what some have referred to as “dream teams.” A new air of cooperation has descended upon many of the world’s laboratories, perhaps out of necessity, perhaps out of excitement. As techniques and skills require more and more specialized training, and projects require the expertise of more than one discipline, these so-called dream teams are changing the way we do research.
In the following pages, you will find forward-thinking ideas from current and former fellows on the topics of bioinformatics and team science. Graduate student Mark Ziats argues for the incorporation of a “lean laboratory” model given the prevalence of large, comprehensive datasets. Dr. Sharmila Banerjee-Basu, former NICHD postdoctoral fellow, describes her experience starting a bioinformatics-based nonprofit organization in her quest to understand genetic factors in neurodevelopmental disorders. We also highlight a thorough list of bioinformatics resources compiled by Dr. Andy Baxevanis from his recent talk with NICHD fellows.
Please be sure to also check out Dr. Ramona Neunuebel’s article on informational interviews in the “Career Planning with myIDP” column, registration information for the 9th Annual Meeting of NICHD Fellows, the exciting announcement about Dr. Yvette Pittman’s new position in the NICHD Office of Education, and April announcements and events.
May the next decade bring as many groundbreaking endeavors as the last.
Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD
Questions, comments, suggestions? Please contact us at Shana.Spindler@gmail.com