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 What to study 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:34 pm
Posts: 21
Post What to study
Hi there.

I'm currently planning on starting to study this or next year.
My problem being, I just can't decide on what to study.

I'm currently living in Germany but would move away if it was financially
possible for me.

Although I'm definitely a computer person, I don't want to study Informatics,
since it's very theoretical. I have been interested in biotech since I was a
kid and would love to work in the field and have been repeatedly told to study
bioinformatics, but have been told that it's only data-collection by students
who actually study it. So if anyone knows a subject where I get to do practicalHi there.

I'm currently planning on starting to study this or next year.
My problem being, I just can't decide on what to study.

I'm currently living in Germany but would move away if it was financially
possible for me.

Although I'm definitely a computer person, I don't want to study Informatics,
since it's very theoretical. I have been interested in biotech since I was a
kid and would love to work in the field and have been repeatedly told to study
bioinformatics, but have been told that it's only data-collection by students
who actually study it. So if anyone knows a subject where I get to do practical
biotech-work, synbio if possible, I would be very thankful.

And of course I would like to live a lazy stutents life at a sunny place,
let's not forget that. :)

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Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:47 pm
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:35 am
Posts: 11
Post Re: What to study
Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Genetics, Molecular genetics and some Probability & Statistics and 3-D Modelling would be a start.


Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:37 am
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 10:43 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Sweden
Post Re: What to study
Hi phryk, have you found any education you like yet?


Sat May 21, 2011 1:19 am
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:20 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: What to study
I would agree with simplexity about what to take. When I was deciding my course to prepare myself for working in molecular biology, I chose an undergraduate course of study in chemistry because I saw that the theoretical (yes, you do have to learn theory) and skill set in chemistry would be more useful to me than pursuing a degree in biology. That isn't to say I didn't take some biology courses, but most of what I learned formally about biology I learned in graduate school.
There are a number of schools in Florida in the US that are doing interesting things in molecular biology and biochemistry. If you don't mind fire ants and torrential rain on occasion, it's not a bad place to be a student.
Good luck,
Norman


Wed May 25, 2011 5:25 pm
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Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:18 am
Posts: 26
Post Re: What to study
Hate to break it to you, but all science is "data-collection." Bioinformaticians do't really collect data, rather they develop computational methods for analyzing data. A typical bioinformatician will collaborate with biologists, who do the data collection.

What do you think you will do once you genetically engineer something? You have to collect data. I clone genes all the time, create fusions with marker genes, stick genes in plants. This is all routine and consumes a fraction of my time. Once I clone the gene, once I create a transgenic plant, then real work begins, collecting data.

I understand what you want to do, but data, the collection of data, that is why you do experiments. You shouldn't look at as "I have to collect data." One of my favorite things to do is "design experiments." Designing a genetic screen, designing a cloning experiment, etc. The design aspect is fun. The analysis and interpretation aspect is fun. I was trained as a molecular biologist, trained to be at the bench. I now find about 25-50% of my time spent at a computer doing data analysis. Having a strong computational background is an asset.

My advice. Study lots of Genetics, molecular biology, lots of Biochemistry. You probably don't need much "organismal biology" or physiology. Learn basic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. If you have an interest in Protein engineering, which would require an extensive computational background, then really study lots of Chemistry and less genetics. If you are more interested in just genetic engineering and not so much altering protein structure for a certain function, then there is no real need to get more chemistry than organic chem, focus more on genetics, molecular and cellular biology. A microbiology course is helpful, or rather a microbiology lab, because all genetic engineering starts with working with bacteria and so its good to get used to handling them.

I really see no need to study 3-D modeling as one person suggested, unless you want to engineer proteins (not the same as genetic engineering).

My advice, to really make use of your computational skills, add in quite a bit of statistics. One of the areas of biggest demand right now is for scientists that have wet lab experience and skills, but who also have the computational and statistical knowledge to make sense of large data sets. Biology, with the advances in next generation sequencing and proteomics is resulting in techniques that develop massive data sets. To give you an idea, I have one set of data that approximately 25 GB in size. To generate this data, first required my experience as a molecular biologist to isolate RNA from specific cells and then prepare it in a fashion for the experiment. But now that I have the data, I have to utilize an extensive knowledge of statistics, Unix, Perl, Python, and other computational skills.

Very few scientists have those three skill sets. Most molecular biologists were taught to work with small samples, data, requiring only a T-test for statistics. Most bioinformaticians are disconnected from the lab and have little understanding of what we molecular biologists do. Statisticians, from my experience, are even more isolated. People who can communicate in all three fields, work in all three fields are extremely valuable, in huge demand, and will be the leaders in Biology in the years to come.


Thu May 26, 2011 3:31 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:09 am
Posts: 5
Post Re: What to study
It is a good thing in this era that you can learn any language in the comfort of your own home by joining online classes.There are also many options are available for your help like the facility of translator provides great help in translation of any other language for your own ease in learning.

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Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:32 am
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