WSU BiRG

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Home Opportunities

Research Opportunities in the BiRG Lab

DoomWBala Bioinformatics is a rapidly-growing and exciting field of research.  The BiRG team welcomes serious-minded researchers who are enthusiastic about pursuing challenging and meaningful research problems.  As you consider joining us in our research, here are some things that you should consider carefully:

Is research for me?

The most fortunate graduate students find scientific research to be a challenging yet highly rewarding experience, but it is not for everyone.  By definition, research means exploring problems where the answers are not known.  There will be frustrations, setbacks, and false leads.  Seeming breakthroughs must be viewed with caution and skepticism.  Scientists-to-be must be prepared to perservere in the face these setbacks.  They must be creative, self-motivated, and persistant.

Is the BiRG lab for me?

Our team is successful because we work closely with molecular biologists, biochemists, and medical doctors to pursue research that has biological relevance.  While most graduate students are studying and applying computer science, our students are doing that while at the same time learning cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, toxicology, parmacology and other areas of biology relevant to their research.  It takes dedication and focus to pursue cross-disciplinary research.  Our students value the opportunity to contribute to science beyond the traditional boundaries of computer science and engineering.

The BiRG team works to foster a spirit of healthy scientific skepticism.  Your presentations, research, papers, and other work will be critqued by your peers and your advisors.  You must be prepared to accept and learn from scientific feedback to succeed in our research environment.

Most importantly, our students are expected to have the maturity to identify and pursue their own research investigations.  We are looking for highly self-motivated and scientifically curious researchers.  If you are looking for an advisor that provides step-by-step instruction or a lot of deadlines, the BiRG lab is probably not a good fit for you.

I want to pursue bioinformatics research, how do I get involved?

  1. If you don't have a background in biology, you should start by taking our bioinformatics courses:  CS 271/571 / BIO 371 - Introduction to Bioinformatics, and CS/BIO 471/671 - Algorithms for Bioinformatics.  If you are a gradute student and would like to take 671 but don't have all the prerequisites, you may contact Dr. Raymer to request an override.
  2. Come to our lab meetings.  All serious students are welcome to join us, regardless of your background (or lack of it) in biology.  At our meetings we will discuss current research projects, papers from the scientific literature, and fundamental topics in pattern recognition, evolutionary computation, molecular biology, and biochemistry.  The time and place of the BiRG lab meeting can be found at http://birg.cs.wright.edu.
  3. Pursue an independent study.  As you attend the meetings you will find that there are many open research questions that we do not have the time and resources to pursue.  If you would like to investigate one of these questions, it may be possible to do it as an independent study topic.  Talk to Dr. Doom or Dr. Raymer for more details.

What about graduate assistantships/funding?

Our research is driven by funding awarded by a number of federal and state agencies.  As a result, funded research (GRA) positions come and go.  When positions are available, they will be announced on the front page of our web site (http://birg.cs.wright.edu).  Students that are already involved in our classes, lab meetings, and research are given priority in consideration for these positions.