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I have been applying to Ph.D. programs in bioinformatics and have already gotten interview invitations from a few of them. My background is mainly on the computational side but I am interested in applying that knowledge to biological problems.

In my application I mention that one of my research interests is modelling physiological systems (e.g. the cardiovascular system). However, I have not done substantial reading on the topic other than from a few websites and Wikipedia (mainly because of the little free time that I currently have as an undergraduate). From what I have read, I find the field to be very appealing and something that I would like to do research on. Nevertheless, my knowledge is basic at best and I am wondering if I can claim it to be one of my research interests.

  • You'll end up reading a lot of papers, and your interests will undoubtedly change quite a bit as time progresses. IMO you have a disparity between a topic and the current research on the topic that elementary readings can't inform you about. You may find that while the topic interests you, the practical research and application bores you, or vice versa! You could viably get a head start on the process by reading primary literature to your liking, but the answer below basically sums it up: an interest is simply that! – CKM Dec 29 '15 at 21:00
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You can be interested in Japanese even if you don't know more than 3 words in Japanese.

You can say it is your interest.

If they ask about your research experience - then usually a publication is a good indicator that you have some knowledge of the topic.

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  • While this is true, it can be embarrassing to be asked or otherwise invited to talk about a self-proclaimed interest, only to have little to say. I have certainly made the mistake (?) of being too literal with the word myself. – OJFord Dec 30 '15 at 0:54
  • Incidentally, some linguists do research on Japanese without knowing the language. – Kimball Dec 30 '15 at 6:09

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