Last week, I sat in on a open forum/journal club meeting at the lab. There were nine people total (not including me): seven scientists (researchers, biologists, asst profs) and two computer scientists (carrying badges from both Intel and OHSU; they like to hang out at OHSU).
Topic of the day: omics
An article (which was the article that was discussed that day) published on Nature defines omics as "the study of related sets of biological molecules in a comprehensive fashion. Examples of omics disciplines include genomics, transciptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and epigenomics. An omics-based test is defined as 'an assay composed of or derived from multiple molecular measurements and interpreted by a fully specified computational model to produce a clinically actionable result'" (McShane et. al).
I really enjoyed the lab meeting and found it engaging and interesting. My mentor thought it would be a good experience for me to hear a group of scientists discuss, analyze, and present ideas to one another.
Plus, there were two guys from Intel, working on the data/computational side of things.
In this room, I saw the word "bioinformatics" come to life.
"It's like learning a new language," my mentor says. I observed as the computer scientists tried to clarify certain biological terms and understand our purpose from the lab's perspective. At the same time, the lab scientists and researchers wondered about technological concepts like "machine-learning" and asked about algorithms or computational terms.
It was a genuinely inspiring meeting and I watched everyone in deep, stimulating discussion. Each of them had a copy of the journal article, took notes, and carefully talked through every detail mentioned in the paper.
We only got through half of the material in the one hour meeting, and my mentor scheduled a follow-up meeting to happen this week. (I hear the head of the Knight Bioinformatics Department is coming.)
Everyone left the meeting feeling equipped with new knowledge and found the meeting very helpful. I hope to attend more lab meetings in the future and hear the insights of many intelligent and thoughtful professional scientists.