Genomics Aotearoa

A random bioinformatics career walk … and how Genomics Aotearoa is helping researchers be a little less scared of the “command line” - Genomics Aotearoa

Jan 30, 2019

Dr Alana Alexander A “random walk” is a mathsy term for a path strung together with a bunch of random steps (not unlike trying to walk my stubborn St. Bernard cross on a leash). Despite being a bioinformatician (which folks often think means “also a maths wiz”), my maths is (unfortunately) not great. Therefore, I mention random walks not because I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb about higher-dimensional Riemannian manifolds (thanks Wikipedia!), but because I think it is a great way to describe how I got into bioinformatics. Many researchers assume bioinformaticians have trained extensively to commune with processors, compilers, SLURM scripts, and core dumps. That’s definitely one way to become a bioinformatician, and probably a really smart one! Multiple universities in Aotearoa and internationally offer bioinformatics specialisations and/or degrees, and many of the other (brilliant) Genomics Aotearoa postdocs … Read More

How does epigenetics fit in? - Genomics Aotearoa

Dec 14, 2018

Greg Jones The study of epigenetics could well be a key tool in transforming valuable genomic information into useful health outcomes for New Zealanders. But what is epigenetics and why is it important? Epigenetics is the influence of genetic susceptibility combined with the complex interactions of each individual’s environment over their lifetime. An individual’s epigenome is a dynamic personalised profile of environmental stress exposures, influenced by things like diet, gut microbiota, toxin and drug exposure, psychological and physical stressors and levels of activity throughout life. The field of epigenetics could have an important role in precision medicine – an emerging approach for disease management that tailors treatment to the individual, based on their genes and environment. Measuring the epigenetic changes that occur in diseases, including cancer and heart disease, provides an understanding of the underlying mechanisms. This insight can then … Read More