Forum: Cancer research for computer science student
gravatar for mhasa006
20 months ago by
United States
mhasa00650 wrote:

Hello, I am a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. My research interest is in computational biology. I have finished a project on epigenetics and now I want to work on Cancer genetic. I am particularly interested in cancer research but I don't have much of an experience with it. My advisor does not work with cancer genomics but was kind and nice enough to allow me to keep working on it.

I want to know what are the current research problems in cancer research. I have found a lot of research paper where the researchers are mostly from the departments like Medicine, Biomedical etc. Could someone please provide me some links/papers where CS students and professors are working on Cancer datasets?

P.S. I know this is a vague question. I'm kind of lost and in need of directions. Thanks!

ADD COMMENTlink modified 20 months ago by Michael Dondrup46k • written 20 months ago by mhasa00650

Personally, a friend of mine (MSc in computer sciences) has recently been a successful computational biologist who developed an algorithm for inferring causal relationships between genes. Actually, I believe that shifting from computer to biology is much much easier than vice versa. Because for a biologist it is not easy to learn programming or algorithms while for a computer scientist that would not be difficult learning biological concepts. I wish I were you, because really this is my ambition to know computer to be a computational biologist.

ADD REPLYlink written 20 months ago by F3.4k

Yes, I went from computer science (undergraduate) into biology, but I wish that I had advanced a little further into computer science. Most of what I learned is already out of date, in terms of programming, etc., but I find that learning new languages like R, Python, is quite easy. Also, the 'logical' way of thinking that comes with software engineering has helped me to better analyse biological data.

Also quite different personalities, i.e., computer scientists and biologists. I naturally shift my own personality depending on who I'm with.

ADD REPLYlink written 20 months ago by Kevin Blighe45k

I feel, this will remain as my biggest regret in my life that I did not peruse computer sciences since I finished high school. However, I think mhasa006 is lucky and he/she has a great opportunity to fulfill his/her zeal by integrating computer knowledge with biology.

Best luck

ADD REPLYlink written 20 months ago by F3.4k

Thanks for the good wishes. And it's he :-)

ADD REPLYlink written 20 months ago by mhasa00650

I think in the end, it all comes down to your personal level of motivation. I (very unfortunately) also have no formal background in CS or data analysis, but did an old-fashioned MSc in molecular biology. Learning programming in the age of internet is really not a big deal anymore, you simply need the stamina. What I find much more demanding is to properly get into advanced data analysis and statistics, as it is quiet abstract if you lack the basic knowledge. The problem is that there are so many resources out there that I find it difficult to 1) decide which are actually good quality (surprisingly I found most EDX courses quiet a waste of time), and 2) which basic knowledge you need to have in order to follow the content. @Kevin, as your posts suggest that you really have a strong background in data analysis, how did you get your background?

ADD REPLYlink modified 20 months ago • written 20 months ago by ATpoint19k

@Kevin, as your posts suggest that you really have a strong background in data analysis, how did you get your background?

My friend, the major thing that has benefited me is the fact that I chose to move around and thus I was able to pick up ideas from multiple independent groups/people (and form my own ideas from these). I'm now at the point where I essentially have no affiliation but am working with multiple people as an independent.

Being given responsibility is also important. In large groups, it's easy to be 'drowned out', whereas, in places that are not so well funded, as an analyst, you pretty much are expected to do and know everything: right from analysis to advanced statistics. This is beneficial. It's only right now, almost 6 years since my PhD graduation, that I feel very confident in what I do, which is why I joined Biostars only now.

The path has not been as straightforward as it may look, though. It never is. I'm also my own worst critic.

As I've said before, you and I would work well together

ADD REPLYlink modified 20 months ago • written 20 months ago by Kevin Blighe45k
gravatar for genomax
20 months ago by
United States
genomax69k wrote:

May be obvious but your best bet is to find a local academic cancer center (if there is one at your university then all the better) and talk with some folks there. They will have unmet research needs but you would need to weigh if those are general topics (more to do with data processing) or if they are research topics that you can apply your CS skills to find novel solutions/applications for. Since are you a student, the trick will be to find a project worth defending (for your dissertation), that is novel and sufficiently interesting/challenging.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 20 months ago • written 20 months ago by genomax69k
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