Questions Science and Education

What is computational biology?

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Swati Jobin

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To define it in simple terms, computational biology is a branch of biology that involves the application of computer science and computers and is focused on modeling and understanding the processes and structures of life. It makes use of computational methods to simulate and represent the biological systems.

Computational biology is also known as bioinformatics. It is known to cover a wide variety of biology topics including evolution, biophysics, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology. This branch of biology leverages various quantitative tools such as statistical physics, machine learning, frequency statistics, and algorithm design.

Computational Biologists

Computational biologists are known to make use of theoretical principles to understand the biological system. These professionals are experts in the field of data-algorithm, computational management, statistical processes, biological processes and high-performance computing Rigorous computer programming and extensive research work are part of their responsibilities. Also, they should have a vast knowledge of biochemistry.

Tips For Getting Into Computational Biology

Here are a few tips that can help you get into computational biology.

  1. Bioinformatics includes a vast area of research. It not only contains computational drug development but it also covers analysis of genomic data, image analysis, gene expression analysis and more. Each of the areas is known to use a particular method. So you need to find a specialty that is best suited for you.
  2. To get into computational biology, you need to get comfortable working with computers. It is wholly based on your project whether you need to know to code or not. Some projects don’t involve coding. It is up to your convenience which type of project you choose.
  3. Read about the field as much as you can. Explore the vast area to learn more about it. You can find information on the net, in magazines and even social media platforms like Twitter and blogs. You can even talk to people who are expert in the field. You can also come across many meet-up groups which can help you to understand the field better. You should not be afraid of reaching out to professionals for help.

Overall, you need to be curious and passionate about the field. Computational biology is an exciting field. It has a wide variety of application as well. If you are interested in joining the field of computational biology, you already know what to do.

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