Sample SOP

Friday, August 7, 2009

statement of purpose bioinformatics sample

Sample statement of purpose bioinformatics sop

Research Interests

“We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA); this structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest”

February 1953, Francis Crick

Given the experiences that I have had with Combinatorial Optimization, Evolutionary Computing and Molecular Biology, I am very interested in bioinformatics. As a relative young area, the area of bioinformatics offers a wealth of research opportunities.

My main focus is located in proteins. Proteins are the building blocks and motor molecules of every cell. Proteins are formed by twenty amino acids, where this sequence is called the primary structure of the protein. This primary structure specifies the folding pattern that the protein will have, this information can be obtained by sequencing its DNA, nonetheless predicting the folding of proteins is extremely difficult. Nowadays the methods used to predict this conformation are X Ray Crystallography and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance being both computationally expensive. Here arises one of my main research interest, how to predict accurately the folding of a protein? Besides the non covalent bonds between amino acids affecting this folding what other forces are present? How is the feature space for each probable folding pattern?

Another interesting issue is the identification of active sites in proteins. To identify active sites in proteins there have been followed two main approaches, the first one called structural is based on the finding of cleft or crevice zones in the protein structure. It is well known that the active site of proteins is located into those zones. The second approach based on the sequence of the protein, has as its goal to compare the sequence of the protein against other structure-well-known protein sequences, using some variants of the string matching algorithms.

This last summer I worked using this last approach, looking for phylogenetic motifs in proteins. A motif is a region of DNA highly conserved and the term phylogeny is related to an evolutionary relation between organisms. Using these two concepts it is possible to find those regions of the protein sequence that are most likely to be active.

As can be inferred, some problems in bioinformatics can be seen as combinatorial problems, here arises another of my interests.

Besides the topics above mentioned, I am very interested in the algorithm design area, and it is here where is located the methodology I will use to tackle these problems. The area of meta-heuristics is so wide and potent that I would like to explore some search algorithms for these problems, not only any algorithm but also an efficient one.

Sample statement of purpose

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