To bioinformatics students everywhere: advice from the pros

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Sandra Porter

Know your biology!

I get asked often about the type of bioinformatics training that students should get and whether it should be a special course or not.

And I answer that I think teaching bioinformatics in the absence of biology is like teaching Microsoft Word in the absence of writing.

There isn't much point.

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So I was happy, to discover from BioInform, that I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

To quote Lincoln Stein:

I hope to see bioinformatics becoming a tool like molecular biology that everybody uses, and that the software we're developing now will become as easy and as standard to use as a pipettor. You don't read for the guy who knows how to run pipettors when you need to pipette something. You reach for the pipettor yourself....

I was even happier to read that some of the most famous people in the field: Lincoln Stein, Russ Altman, Amos Barioch, Rainer Fuchs, Steve Lincoln, and Gene Myers; are also advising students to learn their biology (or as Gene Myers suggested be really good computationalist, and even he says that computer scientists should learn science, too).

(And of course statistics! We all need to know statistics.)

Read the words of the masters in this 10th anniversary edition of Bioinform. They pass on their advice to students and muse about the future of computers and biology.