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Bioinformatics and programming languages- what do you need to know!

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There are various things which come to mind when someone is going to enter in the field of Bioinformatics and the topmost concern is “Do I need to learn computer languages to pursue my career in Bioinformatics?”. The answer is a bit tricky but it could be both “yes” and “no”. This article will describe the conditions where you need to learn programming languages in Bioinformatics. Continue reading “Bioinformatics and programming languages- what do you need to know!” »

Site-specific docking: Frequently Asked Questions & answers for starters

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I have been getting several E-mails from researchers and students alike regarding in-silico docking. Most questions are similar in nature, so I thought of answering them once and for all. In this article, I have collected some frequently asked questions and provided the link to their answers present in our question answer section of Bioinformatics Review.

It is good to have questions in mind and they can be solved in a way as quoted by Sir Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

In this article, I have collected some of the most Frequently Asked Questions while performing site-specific and/ or blind docking. You have to consider a lot of factors before performing an actual docking on a protein with a specific ligand.

Question: How do you predict protein’s binding sites? 

Question:  What is the difference between the blind docking and binding site based docking?

Second thing, if I have to find the distance between a ligand and any residue in the receptor molecule. Do I have to take the central atom distances or minimum distance between any two atoms of the ligand and receptor molecule can be considered ?? 
If these are not the questions you are looking for, then feel free to ask in our ‘Bioinformatics Discussion‘ section or write to [email protected]

Survival guide: How to overcome lab politics and not become a lab rat

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If you find yourself in a laboratory full of people with scientific temperament, it can be exciting, awesome and hilarious. You may experience a real life “big bang theory” episode and witness all characters around you.

However, for the uninitiated, a  large number of labs are a flourishing ground of rivalry and war grounds reiterating the fact on its inhabitant that they live in a maze.

Lab politics can be nasty, and those who don’t want to get involved are almost certainly the easiest target.

Here are a few tips based on my experience in labs on how to survive lab politics and prevent yourself from getting into situations uncalled for.

  1. CommunicateBackbiting and misinformation is the nuclear weapon of every mole. They pass on a false information about you leading to complexities. It ranges from simple misinformation about you being absent or drunk during work hours when you are not, to some complicated statements attributed to you. You can deal with this situation through regular communication. with your peers. Every one of them. Especially if you sense that your guide is growing weary of you. communicate as clearly as possible and if you sense a misinformation, make it a priority to point it out without targeting the person acting as a mole. This will be such a blow…..oops!
  2. Be Humble
    Back in graduation days, I was made a leader for a group project, I worked harder than everybody suddenly to realize that it was only me that was working for the whole duration. So I became proud which reflected in my behavior. Seeing this, two girls approached the guide with some story, which I am still unaware of. The guide, who happens to be a lady,  immediately removed me from the project & my name from manuscript after it completed. The results were published without my name, the first author being that girl who was not even fully aware of the topic. Moral? even if you are doing everything, be humble or you risk being a lab rat.
  3. Divert to productivity
    When somebody else is the target, it is relatively easy for you to just ignore what is happening but remaining silent is such situations will lead to exponential increase in it and you never know when the dial points at you. You may try shifting focus to an interesting observation, experiment or paper. This way, you show them that what these guys are talking about is not worth the time.
  4. Don’t be evil If someone is doing something a certain way and you know they are wrong, just point it to them. Don’t go to your guide to complain. If you complain too much it is perceived as a negative trait. If you have problems try to resolve it on your own rather than asking someone to do it for you. If you can’t do it yourself, try to get help rather than ordering. Nobody owes you anything so be humble.
  5. Don’t over-promise

You may become a target without even saying a word! yes! it happens. The world is full of hatred for achievers. So if you have a lot in your kitty, don’t keep flaunting it. don’t promise that you will do this and that. Just keep doing things one by one. So they won’t even notice that you were running your own race and they were not even the participants.

6. Don’t get discouraged
If you are surrounded by ‘lab politicians’ and they criticize your work and working habits, then don’t get discouraged, because they would be trying to distract you from your work. In fact, it is a good sign, great success comes with criticism. Don’t believe what they say because ‘politicians’ never want anyone else’s account to be filled, just say thanks to them with a smile and keep going in your direction.

These are the tips that I  have learned by working at labs in the University of Delhi, Indian Institute of Science Education & Research – Kolkata, Jamia Millia Islamia & Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Although I have tried to accommodate as much as I could, do you think I have missed something? would like to add something to the story? go ahead and comment below.

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