[BiO BB] Schooling question

J.W. Bizzaro jeff at bioinformatics.org
Tue Jun 19 13:16:15 EDT 2001

Joel Dudley wrote:
> I don't want to leave the state so I
> am talking with professors at ASU to get graduate level instruction in
> Bioinformatics off the ground. It has been rough going right now but I hope
> something will happen if I bother them enough.

>From my personal experience, trying to get your graduate advisor/supervisor to
switch to, or even accept, a new field may be next to impossible.  A former
advisor of mine was involved in biological molecular dynamics and modelling. 
Close enough to bioinformatics, right?  That's what I thought, but I could not
convince this person to accept a research project of mine that was more
informatics-related (something which involved large-scale comparisons of
structures between different organisms).  This is primarily why I left that

I want to warn you, not scare you off.  When you first talk to a prof about
joining their group, they'll act amazingly flexible, as if you could work on
just about anything.  But, once you're in the door, day one, they'll try to
get you to switch to whatever they're working on in their lab.  And the
pressure will never cease.  Eventually, they may confess that they aren't
aren't able to advise you on your research topic.  And, whether they get to
that point of confession or not, it's true, they aren't able to, and you'll
end up either (1) switching to whatever they're working on, (2) leaving in
frustration, or (3) spending 10 or more years on your research before they'll
let you go.

Can anyone else attest to this?  I know of many who can.

My advise: if you want an education in bioinformatics, then at any cost, find
someone who is actively involved in the field.  And I don't mean someone who
is doing something like bioinformatics.  I would check that they either
mention bioinformatics in their research statement on their web page or that
they have publications in bioinformatics journals.

J.W. Bizzaro                                jeff at bioinformatics.org
Director, Bioinformatics.org        http://bioinformatics.org/~jeff
"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we
should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention
of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."
                   -- Benjamin Franklin

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