I met Emma Ganley from PLOS Biology at the #scidata16 conference last year, and shortly afterwards she invited me to contribute to the PLOS Biology collection Research Matters:
In this series, we ask leading scientists in their respective fields to explain clearly and engagingly for a lay audience why the research carried out in their laboratories – and those of their collaborators and their colleagues – matters.
It wasn’t immediately clear to me, what I should write about. I tend to label myself a cancer researcher nowadays, but cancer research does not need any explanation why it matters – unfortunate as that is.
At the same time, I am a computational biologist – and here I thought was a much bigger need to explain why it matters. The question is not so much why computational biology and bioinformatics are useful (nobody seems to question that it’s handy to have the geeks around) but why is it biological research, rather than just a support and service activity.