Forum: cancer genomics or genetics basis of disease research?
1
gravatar for epigene
2.8 years ago by
epigene450
United States
epigene450 wrote:

I have a general question regarding the two area of research/clinical applications.

I will graduate from PhD in bioinformatics soon (background in both wet and dry lab related to gene regulatory networks) and I'm looking into getting into more clinically related career path in the future. Right now, cancer genomics or understanding the genetic basis of disease research through sequencing seem to be two top choices in term of research area to do a postdoc.

I should also mention that I'm interested in working in industry (biotech or pharma) after postdoc. From my research, it seems that cancer genomics or oncology is a really hot area in industry now. Is it just a hype or there is indeed some good effort and progress in this area?

Another thing is that I felt these two fields use very similar analytical tools. Both focus on detecting variants and trying to make sense of those variants/mutations. So from my understanding, the skill sets are easily transferable from one to the other. Is this understanding correct? If this is the case, I'll be more likely to do a postdoc in the genetics basis of disease field since that's more of interest, thinking the job prospect will be similar after postdoc. Would this be realistic?

ADD COMMENTlink modified 2.8 years ago by Eric T.2.4k • written 2.8 years ago by epigene450
2
gravatar for jotan
2.8 years ago by
jotan1.2k
Australia
jotan1.2k wrote:

Fields change and fads come and go. What's "hot" one day can become passe by the time you finish training.

Work on something that interests you. The soft skills are always transferable.

ADD COMMENTlink written 2.8 years ago by jotan1.2k

yeah, that is true.

ADD REPLYlink written 2.8 years ago by epigene450
1
gravatar for Eric T.
2.8 years ago by
Eric T.2.4k
San Francisco, CA
Eric T.2.4k wrote:

Try "precision medicine" as a keyword. If your interest is in doing something with clinical relevance, look for a position in a major medical center that does research, or a university tightly affiliated with one. The goal is to put yourself in contact with MDs who can guide you toward projects with genuine clinical relevance and possibly immediate benefit to their current patients. They will also have access to the resources you'll need, including clinical samples, and of course deep knowledge of the diseases your projects address.

In biotech hubs there are plenty of jobs for PhD bioinformaticians, but if you're not already doing your PhD in a hub, it will be tough to get one of these jobs because the companies prefer to hire locally and/or with referrals from people in their network. A short postdoc in one of these hubs is easier to get from the outside, and gives you access to these industry jobs. Try to gauge whether your prospective PI would be OK with this being your goal -- many but not all are.

Alternatively, you can do an "industry postoc" with one of the larger pharma companies -- in the US these are coveted and competitive positions that pay much better than a typical NIH-funded postdoc. They will hire non-local candidates.

Again, since your interest is in supporting clinical care or drug development (think carefully about the work culture associated with each) rather than a specific biological process or disease that you are already (attempting to become) an expert in, you don't need to worry about picking a "hot" area yourself. The hot areas will be the ones with resources to hire and train a postdoc and conduct high-impact research projects.

ADD COMMENTlink written 2.8 years ago by Eric T.2.4k

thanks so much for the detailed answer. I do echo your second paragraph in particular as I realize it will be difficult to get a job in our city.. so i'm looking at San Francisco, Boston, San Diego as my destinations.

And your last point also makes a lot of sense. I indeed don't have any particular disease I want to study or become an expert on. So it will depends on the eventual lab I choose.

Thanks again!

ADD REPLYlink modified 2.8 years ago • written 2.8 years ago by epigene450
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