Python for bioinformatics and gut microbiology.

This afternoon I had a really interesting conversation with Professor Linda Blackall about data visualisation and some of the data-intensive research problems that crop up within her field. Linda is also one of Swinburne's Academic Directors (for Research and Training) in the Faculty of Science and Technology. Not surprising we spent quite a while lamenting the lack of university-wide research software training (mainly Python and R), and brainstormed ideas to address this. We also spent a quite a long time discussing  the ‘big-data’ and data analysis challenges facing PhD and postdocs within her field.  I also learnt a lot about gut microbiology (which I knew absolutely nothing about) and the concept of the body's 'second brain'. As with most scientific research disciplines the microbiology PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs) learn advanced statistics, data analysis and computing skills in an ad-hoc manner, often relying on other students and research colleagues within their individual groups. Fortunately the bioinformatics, microbiology and psychology groups at Swinburne have a significant number of proactive researchers and students eager to take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way. For example, enrolling in workshops at other institutions (Software Carpentry), or starting their own informal coding groups.(e.g. NeuralCode group). It's a tricky problem that will take quite a lot of effort and resources to solve.