Being one of the two in my family to be born with a congenital ventricle septal defect, a cardiac anomaly has always made me curious about my condition. My need for answers became stronger when my brother, who was also born with the same condition, recovered completely by the age of 12 without any medical intervention, while I carried my condition to this day. After years of asking questions, I found Bioinformatics – a field of study that combined various branches of biology with computer sciences and statistical methods.
Throughout my short five years in bioinformatics, I have worked on various types of projects, with different types of biological data and implementation of various computational algorithms. As a fulfillment of my Bachelor degree in bioinformatics, I developed software to automate the process of analyzing tuberculosis spoligotype images and identifying strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis via pattern recognition. Upon completing my undergraduate study, I was involved in a tuberculosis epidemiological research project under the University of Malaya, Malaysia where I witnessed how my software was implemented and contributed to the rapid identification of M. tuberculosis in patient samples. During my one year and a half working on this project, I was also involved in providing computational solutions for other tuberculosis genotyping method and data mine the outcome of the analyses results. I started working on genomic and proteomic data during my Master research project where I developed a pipeline to identify and classify ion channels in parasitic flatworms.
My experiences in bioinformatics showed me that the process of discovering and unlocking new information and knowledge about living beings is now possible with the integration of computational and statistical methods. The advent of molecular biology techniques and the increasing number of machineries invented increased the number of biological data produced per day worldwide. The growing numbers of high-dimensional biological data drive the development of new computational algorithms and statistical models to manage, explore and analyse the data. Research and development of these algorithms and models for biological research is never-ending to provide the support needed for advances in biological technologies. And I aspired to be part of these research and development.
A decade ago I may not have the same aspiration as I do now. This is because, while the bioresearch industry knew that bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field, necessary to the world of biological research and development, bioinformatics is still a toddler in my home country, Malaysia. Despite the fact that the methods and applications are widely used in the bioresearch field, it is relatively unknown and unheard of among high school graduates. It could be due to my passion for genetics and computer science, or it could be just due to my thirst for answers. Either which, I firmly believe that this is where I want to be.
Labels: random ramblings, science