High time I did post here, before more people start doubting my very existence. Had planned initially to blog on something else, but that didn’t happen. That’s a long story, and I will not repeat it here.
As this is going to be an introductory post, I think I shall tell you about what I do. I work in a small bioinformatics based company in my hometown as a research associate. That’s my designation, although I don’t really do any research. What I do is ‘literature curation’ – a field which not many people in biology actually know off. What it involves is basically reading research papers, putting all that data together, and help improve biological databases. Once the data has been collated and meaningfully put together, it can be then used for finding drug targets, designing experiements, etc etc. This ‘collation’ of data can range from simple keyword/abstract indexing of papers to building signalling pathways in specific cell systems.
Biocurators can be considered the museum catalogers of the Internet age: they turn inert and unidentifiable objects (now virtual) into a powerful exhibit from which we can all marvel and learn. That would be a decent enough contribution to the world of science, but the task of the biocurator is even more extensive. Computational biologists do not expect to merely walk through the door, cast a casual eye over the exhibit, and exit wiser (although we frequently do); we also want to add our own data to the exhibit, plus pick and choose pieces of it to take home and create new exhibits of our own. Oh, and we would like to do all these things with minimal effort, please. We can be a pretty exacting bunch of customers, and it takes skills over and above a knowledge of biology to juggle the different needs of data submitters, information seekers, and power players.
This wonderful article gives a comprehensive description of a curator’s job while dealing with a (slightly) static database, while this one describes how data can be put together to create a (more dynamic) interaction database.
(originally posted by MadGenius)