Why Bioinformatics Internship?
As we approach the summer, many are considering internships or jobs during the summer. Summer internship in bioinformatics is an exciting opportunity to gain experience, work with experts and apply the skills you learn in bioinformatics training to real-world challenges.
As 2021 started, many still find themselves in partial lockdown, eager to get back to normal, but facing a harsh reality – we are still looking at months (if not years) of “pandemic” mode at the very least. During the lockdown, many have started learning new skills, developing side projects (house renovation?) and are eager to try out what they learned in application to real-world problems. As the pandemic raged, it is no surprise that many looked for opportunities to understand SARS-COV-2 and it’s impact on human health during this time. And while for most people getting to work with this highly pathogenic virus in a lab was not a possibility, thanks to exponentially available data on SARS-COV-2 infection, many learned bioinformatics to analyze such data. So how can someone who recently completed their training in bioinformatics or computational biology move forward in their career, even during the pandemic?
And by the way, if you were too busy learning web design, cooking or developing a hobby in arts, we do recommend you check out bioinformatics as an alternative – not only is this a highly satisfying option for anyone interested in life sciences, it is also a practical skill that is in great demand! If you are looking to start your journey, check out these upcoming training programs:
Bioinformatics for Infectious Diseases:
This bioinformatics training program is dedicated to the study of viral genomics, bacterial diversity and parasite interaction with the host. In this program, you will get guidance from experienced mentors who have studied pathogens and the role of evolution, adaptation and host-pathogen interaction in epidemic outbreaks of infectious diseases. The program will leverage examples of pathogens that cause re-emerging diseases. We will cover topics such as zoonotic spillover, transmission and the process of viral and bacterial disease development. This program will provide opportunities to participants to practice analyzing data to gain hands-on experience with curated datasets from public domain collections, guided by experts with bioinformatics experience and knowledge about virology and microbiology.
Bioinformatics for Precision Oncology:
Bioinformatics for Precision Oncology is a hands-on training program designed for clinicians, biologists and students that are interested in gaining applied experience with data coming from oncology biomedical research. Using a combination of guided live sessions, asynchronous materials and hands-on workshops, participants will learn how to find, analyze and interpret large datasets from such public domain repositories as the National Center for Biotechnology and large-scale projects such as the The Cancer Genome Atlas. During the training, we will explore how the various -omics data types can be analyzed to understand the basic biology associated with cancer onset, development, and outcomes. We will also learn from examples that demonstrate how large-scale clinical trials and biomedical studies provide an opportunity to improve diagnosis of patients and precision treatment of cancer.
Transitioning from Bioinformatics Training to Computational Research
But let’s assume you recently completed the training, maybe developed several project ideas that seem feasible and compelling. How can you keep going and conduct research with support from a community that will provide you with the much needed resources, infrastructure and expert guidance?
The best next step after training is to work on your project portfolio and develop a sense of applications for the skills you master. A way to start that process is to consider the Omics Logic Research Fellowship, which is a 3 or 6-months program designed to help you learn and apply bioinformatics to a research project of your own. You can read more about this opportunity here: https://edu.tbioinfo.com/bioinformatics-research-fellowship
Importantly, the research fellowship is designed for advanced students and young faculty members that are new to bioinformatics and are focused on completing their research during the timeframe they allocate towards this program. The program includes regular meetings with the fellowship group, a personal feedback from an experienced bioinformatician in anything related to technical challenges and a review of the project from our whole team. The outcomes from this program can include a master’s thesis project, dissertation for MSc. students or Ph.D. proposal. Some students even complete their project to present in conferences or publish in peer-review journals. Here are some examples of completed projects:
Glioblastoma multiforme is a highly heterogenous and invasive type of brain cancer with a poor prognosis and survival rate of a mere 15 months with current treatment standards. According to the cancer stem cell hypothesis, glioblastoma arise from dysregulated stem cells. Thus, it would be important to find significant stem cell markers that overlap between GBMs and normal neural stem cells that would serve as essential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Cancer stem cells are also known to drive tumour growth and resistance to therapy. These stem cells may become quiescient during therapy and reactivate once therapy is stopped thus causing recurrence of GBM. Most of the current therapies target proliferating tumour cells. Identifying biomarkers of quiescent and proliferating stem cells would therefore be useful for targeting these highly malignant cancers in both these states, thus eliminating the tumour with a higher efficacy.
Applying for Bioinformatics Internships:
If you are close to finishing your fellowship or have extensive training done and are ready to apply for the next step, here are some exciting opportunities for bioinformatics internships, including some that are starting soon or some that are summer bioinformatics internships:
Masters and PhD Fellowship in Infectious Diseases (Bioinformatics Internship, starting Feb 28, 2021)
The APHL-CDC Bioinformatics Fellowship aims to train and prepare bioinformaticians to apply their expertise within public health and design tools to aid existing public health personnel in the use of bioinformatics. The Bioinformatics Fellowships provide post-master’s and post-doctoral level professionals the opportunity to apply their skills to a range of important and emerging public health problems while gaining experience in their fields. The program is a one-year full-time working fellowship for master’s- and doctoral- level bioinformaticians. Postdoctoral fellows may extend for an additional year, provided funding is available. Fellows are placed in state, local and federal (CDC) public health laboratories throughout the US and collaborate on a wide range of important and emerging public health problems. All fellows participate in an orientation session. Once in their host laboratories, fellows are supervised by an experienced mentor and work on real-world infectious disease projects. Fellows will collaborate with public health laboratorians, epidemiologists and other subject matter experts to synthesize and correlate data into actionable public health information as part of ongoing AMD projects. In addition to their project-specific work, fellows will participate in distance-based training and learning activities to achieve proficiency in select public health laboratory core competencies. Examples of previous projects and research include: developing and validating pathogen-specific bioinformatics infrastructure for rabies, mumps, and Legionella pneumophilia, and foodborne pathogens, identifying molecular markers in the Influenza genome that can differentiate between Swine and Human lineages, analyzing and organizing genomic data for cluster detection, and more. Fellows receive a stipend and allowances, starting at $54,095 for a master’s-level fellow and $65,448 for a postdoctoral-level fellow, with a cost of living adjustment for major metropolitan areas. Learn more and register: https://newbiochemist.com/masters-and-phd-bioinformatics-fellowship_aphl-cdc-infectious-diseases-feb-28-2021/
Computational Biology Internship with ORIC Pharma (Cancer, Remote Bioinformatics Internship)
ORIC Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage oncology company dedicated to improving patients’ lives and focused on developing treatments that address mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. The company offers an 8–10-week paid summer internship in the Translational Medicine group to a highly motivated computational biology student. The selected student will take part in the translational and biomarker efforts for ORIC’s development programs as member of a multi-disciplinary team, working closely with biomarker, biology, and computational biology scientists. As an intern, you will study the molecular signatures of cancer and translate preclinical findings to guide future development of ORIC’s expanding clinical portfolio. This position provides the opportunity to obtain hands-on biotechnology experience under close mentorship and build a foundation for your future career, while contributing to meaningful projects. Learn more about this bioinformatics internship: https://oricpharma.com/job/computational-biology-internship/
Computational Biologist Internship with 23 and Me (Therapeutics, Remote)
23andMe is a genetics company that provides ancestry and genetic testing. At the same time, the research arm of this company is focused on collecting data to improve precision medicine. The company leverages the unparalleled scale of such collected consumer genetic and phenotypic database to make novel therapeutic discoveries. The Computational Biology group in 23andMe Therapeutics plays a key role, providing biological interpretation of genetic findings to drive drug development. This broad mandate requires the use of existing computational tools, the development of new tools, and the creative application of publicly available datasets to answer complicated questions at the intersection of genetics and molecular biology. This is an opportunity for those with an interest in drug discovery and comfortable working on problems that do not have clear answers. The internship is for those who already have experience in data analysis, preferably of large datasets, and some knowledge of genetics or biology. Ideal candidates are also able to communicate their findings to a non-computational audience. Owing to the breadth of the Comp Bio group’s work, a variety of projects can be discussed. While ultimately your project will depend on your interests, some topics currently relevant to the group include:
- Statistical methods for eQTL analysis
- Trans-ethnic analysis of gene expression data
- Novel techniques for linking GWAS variants to target genes
- A MS or PhD student in Computational Biology, Statistics, Biostatistics, Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Applied Math, Genetics or Biology (with appropriate computational ability) or related fields
- Note that individuals less than 6 months past graduation will be considered
- Strong programming skills in at least one of R, Python, Java, C/C++ or similar required
- Knowledge of SQL preferred
- Experience analyzing large datasets generated by high throughput sequencing or from large studies like UK Biobank highly preferred
- Ability to work with a diverse group of collaborators
Learn more about this bioinformatics internship and apply on the company website: https://www.23andme.com/careers/5052648002/