5 Career Settings for Bioinformatics Professionals

bioinformatics careers

Places Where a Bioinformatics Professional Could Find a Job

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Development
  • Education
  • Academic or Core Research Facilities
  • Genomics Research Centers
  • Software Development Businesses

A person who is planning on earning a degree in bioinformatics may want to be aware of these five career settings for bioinformatics professionals. Someone getting a specialty in bioinformatics but studying computer science, computational biology, applied mathematics, genetics or another related area may also want to know about the types of places where bioinformatics professionals are likely to be employed.


1. Pharmaceutical Research and Development

Pharmaceutical research and development firms may hire bioinformatics professionals to use software in order to design drugs that will target particular proteins or genes. This type of job could be at a large pharmaceutical firm or a startup firm. As demand increases for designer treatments that focus on a particular individual’s genome, these jobs could grow.

2. Education

A person who has a Ph.D. in bioinformatics may choose to continue their career in academics, focusing on mostly teaching other students and performing some of their own research. Academics may require that the person either secure their own funding or work with a team of other Ph.D. scientists in order to secure research funds for their projects. Some colleges and universities hire lecturers or adjunct professors to teach bioinformatics. These are usually institutions that do not offer a bioinformatics degree program, but rather offer one or two courses in bioinformatics that will be part of a different major.

3. Academic or Core Research Facilities

Bioinformatics professionals may also be employed at academic or core research facilities. These facilities include the individual labs of physicians, microbiologists, biochemists and others who conduct medical research at universities. It also includes the research labs at federally-funded facilities, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. Large medical centers with teaching hospitals may also have such research facilities. One example is the Mayo Clinic.

4. Genomics Research Centers

According to the International Society for Computational Biology, another career setting for bioinformatics professionals is a center for genomics research. There are both private and public centers for genomics research. At these centers, biologists and bioinformatics professionals come together in order to sequence genes, delve into the proteins created by the genes and work on treatments for protein and genetic disorders. Some genomics research centers base their work on genetic data from large pools or populations of people, while others focus on a selected sample of people with a known disorder or condition.

5. Software Development Businesses

Bioinformatics professionals could also find employment in software development businesses. Bioinformatics relies upon computer software to contain, categorize, sort and analyze genomics data. It also relies upon software that can take data and turn it into a three- or four-dimensional image, such as the folding and unfolding of a protein in real-time. A bioinformatics professional employed at a software development firm might work on new computational tools for use in bioinformatics, new ways of storing genomics data or new algorithms for making predictions about data.


Knowing about the places where a bioinformatics professional could work makes it easier for a student or graduate to start their job search. This knowledge could also help a person identify which type of career setting would be the most suitable for their personal preferences. Familiarity with these five career settings for bioinformatics professionals facilitates the selection of a career path.

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