This spring I will be a PhD in Human Genetics:-). As the title states, I have a background that is mainly in lab work and bioinformatic work but I want to move to computational biology.
The problem: My thesis research consists of using RNA-seq and methylation bead array analysis in a small sample of human subjects to find differences in a classic disease vs. control experiment. I also did sample prep and verification studies. During my thesis I obtained a certificate in Perl programming and I have taken some coursera courses on Machine Learning, Network Analysis, Data Analysis, etc. I have even applied some of approaches I learned from the coursera course to my thesis research. Unfortunately, I do not have much more "computational" experience beyond this point.
Why? While differences in DNA, expression, methylation are informative, I want to be able to integrate several 'OMIC datasets (i.e.-transcriptomics, methylomics, metabolomics, proteomics, etc. ) to better understand the processes perturbed by the disease. The idea is that in the future, I want to take a blood sample from a patient, look at their "OMIC data" and predict their chances of developing a disease. Or in a more realistic world, I would predict the drug regiment the patient should undergo to keep their disease(s) at bay.
Questions I am asking you: Does this seem crazy to you? When I am reading papers in the field I want to move into, the methods sections generally includes more intensive math than my current skill set allows me to understand. What could I do to realistically develop these skills in an effective (meaning someone will believe my results) manner ? I am currently going through several (use R!) books in an attempt to improve my statistical and data mining skills. Is this sufficient or would you suggest something else? While I am a hard worker, I do not want to do a 9 year post-doc. I'd prefer to keep it to five-- two years to fully develop skills and then three years publishing. Is this realistic? There is plenty of freely available biological data to mine and analyze but I do not want to go off doing this without any guidance. Does anyone know of a forum that discusses data analysis of GEO data sets?
If anyone can give me any type of guidance, that would be awesome! Thanks for reading until the end. -Z