What’s it like to do a PhD in Bioinformatics?
As a Bioinformatics PhD student, you’ll work with the latest software and become proficient with programming in R, Python and MATLAB. You’ll also gain extensive experience with techniques from statistics and data science, all of which will allow you to analyse data effectively.
Some typical research topics in Bioinformatics include:
- Genetic mapping
- Population dynamics
- Epidemiological modelling (modelling disease spread)
- Improving diagnosis through the development of an algorithm
- Using omic technology to study a disease state
- Modelling and predicting evolution
Most Bioinformatics programmes advertised projects with full funding attached. These projects have a pre-determined aim, but you can alter the project along the way to suit your interests.
Compared to other Biology programmes, there is more opportunity of proposing a project, though this remains uncommon. While the majority are advertised projects, some doctoral training programmes offer bioinformatics projects in a given area and leave you to propose the specifics of the project.
In a normal day you’ll be writing programmes to identify new features in the data, analysing results using statistics and data science methods and discussing your project with your supervisor and colleagues.
At the end of the three or four years you’ll complete a thesis of around 60,000 words, which will contribute to your field and you’ll defend it during your viva exam.