Computational biologists: “They’re going to be the breakthrough artists.”

So my Tivo picked up the Charlie Rose interview with Francis Collins the other day.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, since it was being pitched as a book tour stop for the new “belief” book by Collins.  But I decided to wade in nonetheless.  As it turns out, Francis separated himself from the book shilling very clearly in the end.  And there were some enjoyable parts in the earlier portion of the interview.  My favorite excerpts were about computational biologists:

CHARLIE ROSE: You have said if you were starting over you would be a computational biologists.

FRANCIS COLLINS: I did say that. I still say that. Computational biologists
are having a really good time and it’s going to get better.

CHARLIE ROSE: Their day is coming?

FRANCIS COLLINS: Their day is here, but it’s going to be even more here in a few years.

So what do they do? They are people who are jointly trained in studying biology in all of its complexes, but they’re also very capable at computation analysis of huge data sets, because — in part because of NIH and the ethic that was adopted by the genome project, huge amounts of data are being made publicly accessible everyday about all kinds of disease questions.

CHARLIE ROSE: So they’re going to be the break through artists of the future?

FRANCIS COLLINS: They’re going to be the breakthrough artists….

So, team computational biology–ever been called a breakthrough artist? I liked the sound of that. Our day is here, baby. Let’s get crackin’.

It was funny, when I first started watching I thought to myself: huh, he’s lost weight.  And during the course of the interview he also discusses the changes he’s made to his diet and exercise routine since finding out his diabetes risk via personal genomics.

I can’t figure out how to embed these now–used to be able to.  You’ll have to go over to the Charlie Rose site if you want to watch.

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