Dr Nikeisha Caruana
Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Bio21 Institute
I am a bioinformatician – which means I analyse data that comes about from biological experiments. In particular I look at proteins, metabolites (such as vitamins) and lipids (fats) that are involved with mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell! I am a bit like a detective: I take all the evidence and I sift through it, making connections to come up with a result. Being able to shed light on biological problems is really exciting and helpful to the wider community.
The current era specifically for bioinformatics is extremely exciting, there is an increasing demand for data analysts. As machines gain more power and resolution, we can hope to identify new connections within biology to solve more diseases. Recently, bioinformaticians have helped in identifying the genetic make-up of the COVID virus strains to help trace the community transmission of the virus.
I would love to have dinner with Ada Lovelace – who designed the first computer program and is a huge inspiration to women in science and mathematics, as well as Leonardo da Vinci, because of his interdisciplinarity by working in science and art – and I bet he has a lot of gossip.