6.6 years ago by
It can be very frustrating to do bioinformatics when working with biologists or computer scientists. In the first case, biologists don't think you're a scientist (even when you training is in bology!)... In the second, you're not a programmer.
Now I'll go into the field of guestimation: where did the terms "bioinformatics" and "computational biology" come from? My feeling (maybe some of you older folks can confirm or infirm) is bioinformatics came from using computers to solve biological questions... But it eventually also became standard tools, which made it loose it's scientific aura. And biologists started looking down on people doing bioinformatics, just as technicians.
Annoyed with the fact, I'm guessing that some people started calling themselves "computational biologists" to mark their difference with technicians.
Then, once this spread a bit, there were two "schools": those who stuck with the original name (such as myself: biologist using informatics tools to solve biological problems) and call it bioinformatics; and those who make the distinction.
I may be totally wrong and please feel free to say so.
I guess my main conclusion will be to say that a "biologist" is someone working towards the understanding of living things... Whether that person is a technician, a PhD student or a professor. Is the technician not a biologist because (s)he is doing what the Professor says? (Mind you, I know some "technicians" who lead their own project, but that's another issue ;)
I think that person is a biologist as well. And the same applies for bioinformatics. So why go and make up another terminology?
I have suffered from biologists looking down at me because I wasn't holding a pipette. So I can understand why some people would want to make a distinction, even if I don't agree...
And that's my 2 cents ;)
UPDATE: I just found this paper by David Roos, who's lab consists of both wet- and dry-lab, in which he uses both bioinformatics and computational biology interchangeably... And I agree with what his assessment.
modified 6.6 years ago
6.6 years ago by
Nicojo • 1.1k