Forum:MD into bioinformatics
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4.8 years ago
elina_beleva ▴ 30

Hi! I would like to ask for an advice. I am an MD, PhD, who has been involved with clinical medicine only and I would like to gain experience in bioinformatics. And by that I mean professional experience to the extent of career change. However, I don't have any programming experience, nor computer science background, just statistical analysis to the requirements of clinical data analysis. My question is which would be the better path to follow: 1) to start with MS in bioinformatics; 2) to look for a PhD/PostDoc position with bioinformatics component, given my PhD background; 3) or to start self-education through available resources. Currently I am spending a few weeks with a Bioinformatics group and I would admit that it is something that I envision being motivated doing. Thank you!

MD career • 4.5k views
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I have changed your 'question' into a 'forum', since you want to hear opinions here.

In my opinion, you have a PhD and MD, which means that doing another MS first is not necessary. I mean if you want to learn programming, go follow a course of R or python, and try to find a post doc position with some of the bioinformatics that you want to do. Maybe even combined with lab work, I guess you are familiar with that.

I have seen many PhD-students taking a course in bioinformatics to learn programming and further doing R and bioconductor tutorials to learn how to analyze their data.

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If you want to learn more about bioinformatics, there are plenty of free classes you can take on Coursera and edX

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You are the only one allowed by law to offer advice to patients by acting on findings that we (as bioinformaticians) may come up with.

I strongly agree with genomax

I see you as a clinician who can translate the bioinformatics analysis reports in clinical aspects. I have a lot of MD's in my network working in clinical diagnostic labs having equal knowledge of wetlab and the technical (bioinformatics) stuff.

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Hi, I don't have anything to add from an answer perspective, but I am a recruiter and I am looking for an M.D. with some exposure to computational biology and/or bioinformatics. If you are interested in discussing this role, please email me at kimd@slonepartners.com.

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4.8 years ago
GenoMax 134k

I am an MD, PhD, who has been involved with clinical medicine only and I would like to gain experience in bioinformatics. And by that I mean professional experience to the extent of career change

You have acquired specialized skills (that probably took many years) that allow you to do something good by directly working with patients to ease their suffering. You are the only one allowed by law to offer advice to patients by acting on findings that we (as bioinformaticians) may come up with. By all means become familiar with informatics. Learn and understand what goes into the assays and analyses but there is no need to change your career. Please continue making people and their lives better.

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In my experience its usually the Bioinformatician who is aiding the MD, not the other way around. An MD can reach a much higher position e.g. in genomic medicine than a Bioinformatician, I think.

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Thank you! This is a heartfelt advice and motivational. I really appreciate it!

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4.8 years ago
Andrew Su 4.9k

Of the three potential paths you describe, I would recommend some combination of #2 (finding a postdoc position) and #3 (self study). I would look for a lab that can take advantage of your clinical research background, but also has card-carrying bioinformaticians that can help you learn bioinformatics. Without knowing more about your background, at least in principle I would think that there would be plenty of opportunities.

The role of #3 (self study) is to convince both yourself and potential postdoc advisers that you enjoy the process of doing bioinformatics, which of course is very different than experimental/clinical research.

I in general do not see the value of MS degrees in bioinformatics, particularly for someone who already has a PhD and MD.

My two cents...

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4.8 years ago
rprog008 ▴ 70

if you want you can do MS in bioinformatics. But remember getting a degree does not make you bioinformatician. Your active research in bioinformatic make you bioinformatician. If you are interested in Bioinformatics and as already you have completed your MD and PhD, try to figure out research topic of your interest and start doing some basic research work on that topic and seek help of people in Biostar or researchgate. Start learning programing from online courses. Even if you have silly question post them in Biostar and researchgate, nobody is going to hurt you and definitely you will get some suggestion, utilize those information. This is how i have learn bioinformatics. Even as you are attached with Bioinformatics group, you can seek help from them too.

Best of luck

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