I enjoy every aspect of bioinformatics, and it is safe to say I wouldn’t know what to do without it. I started studying bioinformatics when I was 18, did my PhD at the Systems and Synthetic Biology group at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and am now a bioinformatics postdoc in the Waterhouse group. The most fascinating part of practicing bioinformatics, to me, is overcoming the hurdles of the lesser-studied species.
During my PhD this meant dealing with ‘simple’ eukaryotes, such as microalgae and fungi. One of the main hurdles was not just getting meaningful data to work with in the first place, but more so interpreting the data of these non-model species in a world where most wet-and-dry-lab efforts are focused on selected model species. By using novel strategies of data acquisition and analysis, writing my own algorithms for data analysis, and of course also using existing bioinformatics knowledge to the best of my capabilities, I was able to successfully contribute to the advancement of microalgal and fungal bioinformatics and systems biology research.
Now at the Waterhouse group, I will attempt to do the same for Arthropods. And unless the arthropod is called Drosophila melanogaster, there are innumerable more unknowns than knowns. These gaps in our understanding of arthropods is what drives my postdoc. During my time here I will attempt to fill the knowledge gaps that exist for these non-model species. This entails integrating all existing data to improve our biological understanding of arthropod genetics, finding novel ways of analyzing this data, and most importantly store this data in such a way that it will still be useful even for people without any bioinformatics knowledge for a long long time to come.