Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Proteomics: New science frontier presents interesting career opportunities

In the world of science, proteomics is analogous to genomics in that proteomics studies the structures and functions of the entire complement of proteins in the same manner that genomics focuses on the entire structure of the genome. In practice, proteomics jobs can be even more complicated than careers in genomics because unlike the genome, the proteome can vary from cell to cell and from time to time. This makes identification and analysis of proteomes a very time consuming and arduous process.

Studying both the genome and the proteome has led to the identification and manufacture of potential new drugs which may treat disease. In terms of proteomics, if a certain protein structure is identified as being connected to a certain ailment, a drug can be designed to interfere with the functioning of that protein, thus limiting the growth and spread of the disease. Eventually, proteomics jobs may include designing specific drugs for specific people based on their individual protein structures, resulting in a much higher success rate in treatment.

Several diseases which have been particularly difficult to isolate and treat may be targeted in the future by proteomics scientists. These diseases include Alzheimer's, heart disease, and the HIV virus. With all of these conditions, certain biomarkers on proteins can indicate a patient who is at risk for contracting the disease. If a medical professional can identify these biomarkers, they may be able to treat the patient more quickly and efficiently, thus increasing their chances of recovery, or at least a reduction in symptoms. Therefore, proteomics careers can have a huge impact on the quality of life of many people.

Attention to detail and an aptitude for data analysis are just two of the qualifications that a person considering proteomics jobs should posses. Good communication skills, the ability to work well alone as well as within a team, and an interest in computer technology are all important factors to take into consideration if one is researching the prospect of becoming a proteomics scientist. In addition, a proteomics scientist might occasionally be faced with some of the ethical issues inherent in the molecular life sciences, so should feel secure in his or her beliefs and possess a strategy to manage some of the conflicts that may arise.

Once someone has confirmed that they are a good candidate to consider proteomics jobs in the future, they should be sure to pursue the correct educational reparation. First, the potential candidate must obtain a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Major course work should be focused on molecular biology or biochemistry, with additional classes in calculus, physics, and organic chemistry. Research experience is mandatory for those looking to pursue graduate level study in this discipline, so any undergraduate research opportunities should be taken full advantage of by the future proteomics scientist.

While pursuing their Master's degree, a proteomics candidate might take courses such as biocomputing, microarray data analysis, molecular modeling and structure-based drug design, and bioinformatics. Clearly a person with an objective appreciation for the sciences and the ability to focus on highly detailed reports and information is the best candidate for jobs in proteomics. The candidate must also be able to convert that raw data into usable information, so critical thinking skills are absolutely mandatory.

After the potential employee completes his or her education requirements, they may choose to focus on a specific area of specialization. Some of the options might include protein modification, protein quantification, structural proteomics, or the newest branch of discipline- cellular proteomics. Which area of specialization a person chooses might depend on whether they prefer to focus on protein separation, or on protein identification. Another option for a proteomics graduate would be to focus their work on the technological aspect of proteomics, specializing in reverse phase chromatography, x-ray crystallography, or tandem mass spectrometry, just to name a few.

No matter which specialty a person chooses to pursue, proteomics jobs are sure to offer a person a long, stable career working to improve the quality of life for people all over the world. If someone is analytical, detail oriented, and has an affinity for the sciences, he or she is sure to find a niche in the proteomics sciences. With hard work and determination, any candidate with the right aptitudes can enjoy their journey in proteomics.

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