Forum: transfer from computations to experiments?
gravatar for dl_fgt
4 months ago by
dl_fgt10 wrote:

Hi, all! I am a computational postdoc with molecular modelling and bioinformatics experiences. Now I am in the second year of my first postdoc, I am thinking of looking for an experimental opportunity for my next postdoc this year.

I am working in the area of chromatin biology, and I know that I am more interested in the biological question itself than the method used. For long-term development, I want to obtain evidences from experiments and to design experiments and analyse data with computations. I know this could be achieved by collaboration, but a complete dependence on experimental collaboration can be limiting and sometimes be frustrating.

My problem now is that I am from a chemical physics background and I have never had experimental experiences in lab before. I want to ask here: is my idea silly or feasible? I see that a lot of experimentalists are now able to programme to analyse their data, but didn't see much the other way around.

I would be very thankful if anyone could share their experimences or advice. Thanks.

job forum postdoc • 354 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 4 months ago by jaro.slamecka40 • written 4 months ago by dl_fgt10

This is not a job advert so I moved the post to Forum.

ADD REPLYlink written 4 months ago by Jean-Karim Heriche15k
gravatar for Jean-Karim Heriche
4 months ago by
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Jean-Karim Heriche15k wrote:

If you're motivated by the experimental side of biology I don't see why you shouldn't go for it. I believe that wet lab biologists should have maths/statistics and programming skills and that dry lab biologists should have a good understanding of biology and experimental work. However, the downside is that the time you spend training may not be immediately productive (e.g. in terms of publications) which in the current academic system might be a problem if you want to become a PI. On the other hand, having a good grasp of both computational and experimental/technical aspects of a field may be an asset when it comes to finding and managing projects.

ADD COMMENTlink written 4 months ago by Jean-Karim Heriche15k

Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, it would be challenging and time-consuming to get on with experiments. The reason I want to do this is that if I never have wet lab experience, I will always be restrained somehow in a lifelong career. In my current project collaborated with experimentalists, perhaps more tests or complementary assays are needed to make the project more complete. But since every lab has their own focus and communication takes time, only when reviewers ask for these types of experiments will our collaborators do so. Thanks for letting me know it is feasible. I will start to look for opportunities soon.

ADD REPLYlink written 4 months ago by dl_fgt10
gravatar for jaro.slamecka
4 months ago by
Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama
jaro.slamecka40 wrote:

If you have a hankering for the wet-lab side of biological research, definitely go for it, I'm sure you can find a good lab for which your computational skills will be an asset. An ideal lab for you will have the following:

  1. it will have a track record of good research behind it and several diverse projects ongoing that you can immediately join (starting a project from scratch could be too painful)
  2. the PI, the technicians, grad students, postdocs... can provide you with mentorship - technical, publishing, grant writing...
  3. it can put your existing skills to direct use

If a lab has all these, you'll be able to grow fast. However, if it only has very little of the above, you may find yourself stagnating so choose wisely. Good luck with the search if you decide to go this way!

ADD COMMENTlink modified 4 months ago • written 4 months ago by jaro.slamecka40

Thank you so much for your comment and the list, it makes my mind much clearer on what type of lab I should look for. In addition to all the scientific measures, it is so much important and precious for young researchers to work and grow in a nice and open environment. In fact I am feeling stagnating now. I will finish my current work soon and start looking for my next job. I will post if I have any update on finding jobs later. Thanks.

ADD REPLYlink written 4 months ago by dl_fgt10
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