Who is bioinformatics for?

Figure 2 The (fictional) personas illustrated here, whilst not bioinformaticians in the classical sense, all use bioinformatics to enable their research. Cartoons courtesy of Jenny Cham, EMBL-EBI.

The molecular life sciences have become increasingly data driven by and reliant on data sharing through open-access databases (1). This is as true of the applied sciences as it is of fundamental research. Furthermore, it is not necessary to be a bioinformatician to make use of bioinformatics databases, methods and tools. However, as the generation of large data-sets becomes more and more central to biomedical research, it’s becoming increasingly necessary for every molecular life scientist to understand what can (and, importantly, what cannot) be achieved using bioinformatics, and to be able to work with bioinformatics experts to design, analyse and interpret their experiments (Figure 2).