I am in the first quarter of the second year of my PhD. I learned to code as a hobby and have been quite passionate about analytical stuff. I got taken for a PhD basic research project which required a candidate with both wet lab and coding abilities, to be able to apply various programmatic tools to analyse various types of data. During the first year of my PhD I did an extensive analysis of single cell rna seq, bulk rna seq, microarray and Chipseq data for various endpoints. I mostly used already available programmatic tools. It was fun and my supervisor was higly impressed.

Now at the start of the second year of my PhD I discovered that my passion and motivation to perform wet lab activities are very weak. I seem to have lost many reflexes necessary for various wet lab activities. I am almost hating wet lab activities. I have to use some of my time to analyse data for my colleagues and I constantly find myself more passionate about the Bioinformatics stuff than with with wet lab activity. I am still familiar with Biological concepts.

I want to ask my supervisor to modify my project such that I get completely exempted from wet lab activities and do only Bioinformatics. I wish is to focus on different types of analyses of genomics/transcriptomics/proteomic data within the context of the projects going on in our research group. I plan to apply available tools, modify methods in available tools or possibly develop my own methods to analyse various data. I last studied Mathematics in high school and I have never studied Computer Sciences. Online platforms including EDx and co offer basic courses in Mathematics and Computer Sciences. Could such online courses bring bring me up to date in Maths and Computer Sciences such that I can handle a purely Bioinformatics PhD project in this context? I have completed the Data Science Path from the Codecademy platform. So I have basic knowledge of statistics and basic concepts in machine learning. I am very familiar with self-learning especially online.

Thank you in advance for you highly cherished advice.

  • 1
    Can you make the title of your post not specific to biomed and bioinformatics? I think that would make it more broadly applicable and so it wouldn't be closed. Maybe: "How can I position myself to transition from doing wet lab research to doing computational work?" (but I don't know your field so I can't know how to rephrase it exactly) Apr 1, 2020 at 2:16
  • 1
    Actually, I will make this edit. But if there is an even better title, do change it further. Apr 1, 2020 at 2:16
  • Could you ask your supervisor? Apr 1, 2020 at 20:49
  • @Anonymous Physicist. He is a medical doctor and knows very little about Bioinformatics. I want to convince him and myself that though I did not study Maths and C.S. in the university, I have the resources to succeed with a purely Bioinformatics project. I think contributions from experts in Bioinformatics could be helpful to me. –
    – Charles
    Apr 2, 2020 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


Some online bioinformatics resources that I can recommend:


There's a ton of useful abandoned or semi-abandoned R and python packages related to my work, and I'm sure you can find some that are related to your science. What I've been arranging for people like you is to take over maintaining something, with the goal to build a full test package, put together a CI pipe, and make it easier and more robust for users. This usually takes some time, and once it's shaped up you can decide if this is what you want to do or if this is a nightmare for you and something more statistically-driven is the way to go (I find that most bioinformaticians are statistician types or software engineer types and not many are both). I think it's good to have a bridge project before committing full-time to a bioinformatics dissertation topic.

I'm not convinced any formal classwork would be valuable for the development side unless you have no coding ability at all. Something like DataCamp is enough to help polish up areas that you're missing. Formal coursework for statistics is very useful for people with a weaker background in stats though.

  • I am indeed grateful for your elaborate response. I had statistics courses during my bachelor and master studies. I also completed the Data Science path on Codecademy. I'd like to start with the statistical aspects of Bioinformatics.
    – Charles
    Mar 26, 2020 at 21:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .