Clinical Bioinformatics Training: Transition Award in times of Covid-19

This year, Jay Miles received funding via a Transition Award following the submission of her thesis, however due to the global pandemic, the original usage she had in mind was not possible. As such, Jay carefully considered her options, and decided to use the award in a different way. Here is her report detailing her journey.

"The MRC DiMeN DTP generously awarded me a three-month Transition Award following the submission of my PhD thesis, for which I am very grateful. During this time, I continued preparation of a first author research article (due for submission next year) and successfully published a second methods article in the Journal of Visualised Experiments (Miles J., van Oosten-Hawle P.; 2020. Tissue-specific RNAi tools to identify components for systemic stress signalling. J. Vis. Exp. 159, e61357).


Another key aim during this period was to develop skills in order to advance my career. Although I had previously intended to continue a career in research through postdoctoral study, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent spotlight on the role of scientists in public health caused me to re-evaluate. I decided that the application of scientific knowledge within the healthcare sector is where I want to direct my career, and have subsequently focused on scientific roles within the NHS, particularly in the analysis of genomic data. Through the online platform FutureLearn I have completed two courses: ‘Clinical Bioinformatics’ and ‘Computer Programming for Everyone’. This ensured that I had a sound understanding not only of the role of a clinical bioinformatician but also of the relevant background in human genetics, bioinformatic techniques, and concepts in programming. These courses, particularly that covering Clinical Bioinformatics, were instrumental to my subsequent success at interview for the highly competitive NHS Scientist Training Programme; and I have now been offered and accepted a position as a Trainee Clinical Bioinformatician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Finally, I have also been developing my language skills and enjoy learning Welsh, which may be useful if my healthcare career takes me to Wales in the future, where these language skills are a distinct advantage.


By providing me with the time to complete these online courses, the Transition Award was key to my success at interview and instrumental in enabling me to pursue my ideal career."

Report by J. Miles