Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Prelude (Part II)

This second "housekeeping" post is the last I have planned for establishing the essence of this blog, I promise. In the coming weeks I'll get into some deeper topics and actually have something for you guys to look into and think about. But I do think that it's important to take some time to determine what I want this blog to be and what my goals are for it. I hope to at least keep this active through the entirety of graduate school, and I believe spelling out both the motivations and the purposes of the blog will contribute to ensuring that I make enough time for it each week. The first Prelude post covered the motivations, so now I want to not only tell you my ideas, but also get feedback from all of you on what you feel would be useful and interesting to read.

The suggested topics I have listed below are from what I would consider least to most technical:

(1) Personal journey through graduate school and related career advice.
     I'd like to chronicle my journey through graduate school and the interactions I have with others in the scientific community. Even though I'm just starting out, in a sense, I still have a story to tell and maybe even some advice to give about how to succeed in school and science... or at least fail gracefully. For those of you who want to keep up with me personally, this option might be the most interesting.

(2) Philosophical, cultural, and ethical issues in biological sciences.
     The social/cultural/ethical issues in biological sciences are something that every good scientist has a responsibility to consider. The earlier we recognize a problem the sooner we can begin to address it. For all of the wonders of science, it does seem to have a way of creating ever more difficulties. The spread of antibiotic bacteria, politics of health data privacy, and the potentials of genetic therapies are just a few of the issues that come to mind that need to continue to be discussed. These aren't theoretical hurdles for scientists to talk about over a late night beer, they are problems that society is going to have to solve whether they want to or not.

(3) Current and future applications of bioinformatics.
      I LOVE thinking about current and future bioinformatics based technologies. Their potential for enhancing people's lives are part of what "gets me out of bed in the morning" and pushes me to deal with all of the failures and difficulties that characterize research. Personalized healthcare, regenerative medicine, synthetic biology, and biologically inspired nanotechnology are mostly science fiction buzzwords for now. But science fiction seems to have a way of being closer than it seems. I'd enjoy sharing my take on where these applications are heading.

(4) Bioinformatics techniques and tutorials.
     As a computer-centric community, there are a large number of bioinformatics blogs focused on tutorials and techniques for others in the field to learn from. It's great, and I'd love to contribute my tiny drop of knowledge. Obviously this would be the most technical type post. While I greatly value the open source nature of the field, I don't want overwhelming technicalities or jargon to be a deterrent to others outside of the field.

Note that I WILL talk about all of these to some degree or another. So it's really a matter of how much emphasis I'll put on any give subject that's being considered here. Thank you very much for taking the time to read through this and vote.

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