Could Computational Biology Help Us Understand Rare Diseases Better? | Harnham US Recruitment post

Flying cars may not be with us yet. But if you’re a Star Trek fan and have ever wondered if we’d be able to heal ourselves with light wands, machines, and computers that can scan our bodies in seconds for anomalies, then we have good news for you. In the United States, a rare disease is defined as a disease that happens to less than 200,000 people and has a foundational basis such as genetics. Though 20 years in the making, we’re much closer than we’ve ever been and from the Genome Project to the latest in Computational Biology, we just might be on the cutting edge of solving rare diseases. What is Computational Biology?In recent years, we’ve been focused on unicorn employees and unicorn operations. People and systems that are equally strong on both the technical side and the communicative or creative side. Computational biology is equivalent in that it is the merging of several sciences to help us understand our bodies systems at the nucleic level.According to Cornell’s definition, Computational Biology is ‘the application of computer science, statistics, and mathematics to problems in biology. It spans a range of fields including genomics/genetics, biophysics, cell biology, biochemistry, and evolution using tools and techniques from algorithm design, Machine Learning, Bayesian and frequentist statistics, and statistical physics.’4 Ways Computational Biology Can Help Us Better Understand Rare DiseasesComputational biology software has been developed to help scientists pinpoint and identify what it is that’s causing the genetic diseases. Almost all the tools in use to help scientists perform this task share similar functions. But its in incorporating new knowledge that plans to build upon the work of researchers increases the number of individuals that can be helped. Below are four ways Computational Biology research may be able to help us better understand rare diseases and give medicine a sharper edge in the coming years.Genetic epidemiology and statistical geneticsWithin this field, Analytics is combined with genomic Data to study diseases both common and rare. The goal is to identify the commonalities of the genetics related to such diseases as cancer, heart disease, and neurological diseases just to name a few.  Functional genomicsModern technologies in Genomics help determine the epigenetics of a disease. How can two people with the same or similar genetic makeup be affected and influenced in two different ways? Using the technologies available, scientists and researchers can measure and determine alterations across the human genome. Pharmacogenomics and personalized medicinePersonalized medicine is more than a concierge doctor or a telehealth professional who maks house calls in person or online. Imagine a drug developed just for your physiomony to treat your disease. This is pharmacogenomics and is the study of how our bodies respond to certain drugs for rare diseases and their treatment outcomes.Computational and statistical metagenomicsIn order to study your whole body, researchers and scientists are studying not only the human microbiome, but also the environmental factors that may contribute to the diseases being studied. Think of it as the Data Scientist approach – collecting samples from the environment, filtering or analyzing them, and collated or sequenced. Gathering Data from the body and its environment offers a  more in-depth study of the genome and its environs to solve and craft treatments for rare diseases.Since the early 2000s, the human genome has been studied and its only now, with twenty years of technology at our fingertips, we’re able to make bigger in-roads than ever before. If you’re interested in how machines can help medicine, or how computational biology can help give medicine an edge in rare disease research, then ask yourself this. Are you ready to take the next step?If you’re interested in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Life Sciences, Digital Analytics, or Machine Learning just to name a few, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our latest Life Science jobs or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 – 4999 or send an email to  For our Arizona Team, contact us at (602) 562 7011 or send an email to For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to  

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