Micheal Snyder
Photo courtesy of Michael Snyder, PhD

Professor Michael (“Mike”) Snyder, PhD, Chair of Genetics and director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford University gave Chris from the Training & Development Committee a few quick-fire answers to what Trainees interested in big data medicine should look for.

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Challenges for Trainees interested in a career in functional genomics and "big data medicine":

  • Good quantitative skills and statistics are very useful
  • So are programming skills
  • They require a different mindset: get out of thinking about one gene/protein at a time

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How to keep on top of the rapidly expanding toolsets in bioinformatics and large data repositories:

  • Go to relevant meetings, especially those in genomics and systems biology
  • The field moves so fast and anything published is already old news

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Skillsets future "leaders" in personalized medicine should develop:

  • Be good at statistics and programming
  • In addition it is good to do some lab experiments to understand how they work and why “100 replicates” is not possible


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One piece of advice to your former trainee-self:

  • Take more statistics courses!

The favorite and least favorite parts of your job:

  • Most favorite – Think of a cool idea and just do it! Overall, the field is well funded
  • Least favorite – Not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do…

3 attributes that characterize the best researcher in your field:

  • Creativity
  • Be rigorous

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