Friday, September 5, 2008

Bioinformatics...that's, uh...what's that?

There is an internal struggle every time someone asks me what I am studying at college. I learned very quickly that a small percentage of people have heard of bioinformatics, and many don't even grasp what it is after a quick explanation. I've reverted to just telling most people I study biology. 

One of my professors just received a hard drive in the mail from a scientist he works with.  The hard drive has 800 gigabytes of human DNA data that needs to be analyzed.  Most biologists wouldn't even know how to begin looking at that many billions of lines of information.  This is a problem that only bioinformatics can solve.

Both biologists and computer scientists are generally considered 'geeks', and I plead guilty on both counts.  To be honest, I find both subjects to be very fascinating.  If I'm going to be spending 8 hours per day working for the entirety of my professional life, I might as well be doing something I like, huh?

I'm just thankful for a wife who loves me and supports me.  She loves to hear about my studies, even though she doesn't pretend to understand much of it.  I am so blessed to have Stephanie as an eternal companion.

Speaking of Stephanie, she's had a few bad days this week.  Her nausea hasn't completely gone away yet, but it's not as much of a problem right now as her headaches.  We're really hoping that the relief of the second trimester will come soon!

We love you all!

4 comments:

Laura & Steve said...

Thanks Daniel for the explanation! Maybe we can make a t-shirt for you that explains "Bioinformatics" like you did; then you can just point to the shirt any time you get a questioning look. :) Sorry to hear that Stephanie is still having a rough time; you & your little one are in our prayers!

JakieWakie said...

Dan, I know what Bioinformatics is. Rest easy. I think you should keep telling people you're in Bioinformatics; I kinda get a kick out of the glazed-eyes and empty stare I get when I tell people I'm in Molecular Biology. People have a slightly better idea of what that is than what bioinformatics is, but for the most part, they're still confused. Personally, I think the key to confusing people is the ratio of words in your major to total syllables.
Examples:
Molecular Biology-- 2:8, or 1/4.
Chemical Engineering-- 2:6, or 1/3
Chemistry--1:3
MFHD-- 5:11
Health and Human Performance-- 4:7
Bioinformatics--1:6

The lower the ratio, the more confusing you are. And the more awesome.

I hope your blog is only read by dorks, because I totally just dorked it up.

Daniel said...

Well, I most people that read my blog are not dorks, but they now have a better idea of how dorky I am...thanks to you!

Laura & Steve said...

Yeah, microarrays are pretty dorky. Good for you though! Love ya! -Stephen