Why Big Data in Biology is So Big – Times of India

Kiran Majumder-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Bioken, recently conferred the honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biotechnology at the annual convocation of Bennett University, saying that with the first two decades of this century under information technology, the world is now entering the era of biology and computational science. As different fields of biology, such as biology and chemistry, currently rely on quantitative predictions and interpretations to solve complex questions, where advanced statistics, calculations and mathematical tools are used, Majumdar-Shaw’s statement seems to increase relevance at the present time – daytime . Biologists may have a large amount of information, but it requires a sufficient quantitative approach to arrive at accurate analysis and interpretation.

“It is ironic that in a country like India where students are forced to choose between mathematics and biology from the twelfth grade onwards, there seems to be a lot of options open in biology and computational science, often overlapping between the two,” said Kartik Raman, associate professor. Coordinator of the Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras (IIT-M) and the Institute’s Center for Integrative Biology and System Medicine (IBSE).

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Interdisciplinary effects

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According to him, the epidemic has accelerated the need for interdisciplinary issues in education, as technological disruptions are becoming increasingly important to make the necessary predictions in healthcare infrastructure and diagnostics. Citing IIT-M’s dual degree program in data science, biomedical engineering and computational engineering, Raman explained that it is not uncommon for a mechanical engineering student to work with faculty of biotechnology in a master’s project under the program. Biology and computational science. “About 50% of students enrolled for the interdisciplinary dual degree program in data science work on projects that have significant application of data science in biology. It has made it compulsory for all UG students to take an introductory course in biology so that students can learn the basics of the subject. ” There are bio energy modules.

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Career opportunities


“There are a lot of companies and startups now that are just focused on developing the next generation of digital healthcare. Even large technology and hardware companies are building core competencies and dedicated teams in the domain. Such companies are coming up with a number of innovations in drug design, supportive living, disease prevention which require a large staff to have a set of skills acquired by the students. It can be some potentially fruitful destination for students after graduating from IIT, ”said Mitali Mukherjee, Professor, Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering, IIT Jodhpur, where emphasis is laid on key topics like data structure and algorithm, ML. In-depth education and other areas of AI as part of recent reforms to UG, PG and PhD curricula.

“Interestingly, these subjects are not only for computer science students but they are also the core components of Bioscience and Bio Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical and Material Engineering etc. IIT Jodhpur Computational Biology, And offers a number of courses on Big Data Analysis that cover the entire spectrum of biology-computational science interfaces.

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Research and consultant Rajinder Singh Chauhan-Dean said that large pharmaceutical companies have the potential for startups providing R&D positions and even technical solutions to biological problems. HOD Department of Biotechnology, Bennett University where a course in Computational Thinking and Programming is offered for biotechnology students in the first semester. In addition, from the third semester, a BTech biotechnology student may take a minor in computer science.


Relevant courses

Highlighting the need to take courses in bioinformatics, computational biology, Python programming, and programming, Chauhan said, “We live in a world where the boundaries between branches are becoming increasingly blurred. Experts in computational science and biotechnology are now working together to provide solutions to problems in medical science, ecology, evolutionary biology, and more. Working in different SARS-CoV-2 forms requires advanced algorithms through computational science for rapid analysis.

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Lots of jobs

“Computational science has become a vehicle for advancement in many areas of research and innovation. Advances in gene editing, drug discovery, genome mapping techniques have proven to be game-changers. As the results of this technology significantly affect human health and quality of life, Offers employment and great career growth, ”explained Deepak Garg – Dean, International Relations and Corporate Outreach; HOD, Computer Science and Engineering, Bennett University.

According to him, students can choose computer science and engineering and take elective / minor courses related to biology. “There are elective and open elective courses on computational biology, bioinformatics, genomics, etc. As biotechnology-related tools, software and technologies become more modular and user-friendly, the need for specific domain knowledge becomes less and less stringent. There are many reputed universities that offer master’s courses at the junction of the two, ”Gorg added.

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Whether the combination of computational science and biology will help students solve real-life problems, Satpati, a favorite of the Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering at IIT Guwahati, said, “Computer medicine will reduce the cost and time of discovery; Analyzing machine learning images (for example, brain scan data) can help understand the stage of the disease while genome analysis will help in future personalized help. The opportunities are endless. ”

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