Ms. Jessica Myles Learning the Ins and Outs of Bioinformatics at Mississippi Valley St.

I’ve been very occupied with my internship. Right now, I’m down in Itta Bena, Mississippi at Mississippi Valley State University for a bioinformatics internship.

 I’ve been down here since June 1 and it’s been a full schedule. This summer, they have the females with the internship staying in the honors dorm, which is really nice. The rooms are comfortable and my roommate is real nice.  She attends Florida Memorial in Miami, but she is from the Bahamas!

 I’m pretty sure when you first read the word bioinformatics, a puzzle looked crossed your face as it did mine. Basically bioinformatics is the field that produces software and different methods of annotating DNA strands.

 For this first month, we learned the basics of bioinformatics. We learned the history of bioinformatics, the history of the Genome Project, the programming language Python, how to use different genetic databases and the importance of this area of science and study.

 We’ve actually just began our two research projects for the remainder of the program, at which point we have to give an oral presentation to other scientists and faculty members. For the first project, I have to annotate 30 genes from the DNA strand of the bacteria Halothiobacillus neopolitanus c2. This bacteria produces carboxysomes, which aids in the carbon cycle. Annotating the genes helps the science community better understand ways to use the bacteria.

 The second project is constructing a program that can determine if a set of genes is a promotor gene.  Whether it is the right gene or not; we have to run it thru a system that can determine the probabiltiy of accuracy. Also, we have to determine its bond stability and bond strength which means making a second program to run the data. It all sounds pretty complicated and tiresome, and it is. They keep us pretty busy with all the work, especially at the same time we were taking a GRE prep class, attending team-building and career seminars and now we are taking a Hip-Hop Creative Expression class, which is an English elective course the campus offers to teach English through hip hop.

It has been a great experience thus far and it still is not over.


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