My grad school requires a 1000 word essay to demonstrate how my background and experience align with computational biology research. So, is it a good idea to start straight forward with "I am interested in blahblahblah because i have experience in whatsoever"? or can i write a story that motivated me to do research in that area, my future goal, my extra-curricular activities and so on? How much can i digress and tell my relevant qualities other than academic backgrounds only?
I think it depends in part on how the instruction is actually worded. If it says "demonstrating academic background only" as you put in the title, then you'd best stick with that. If, however, it said "how your background and experience align with computational biology research" that's a bit broader. I'm not sure I see a way to fit extra-curricular activities within those parameters, but I would think that your motivations for research and future goals would be relevant.
I hope this helps!
actually it says "1000 word essay on how your believe your background and experience relates to one of the application areas listed on our website". I think academic background and experience fit well. Is there anything else i can add? Is it a good idea to start with the story that motivated me in compbio research?
I think it is always a good idea to start with a "story" whenever possible. It tends to make your writing more interesting and draw the reader in; it is more personal and immediate, less remote. A 1,000-word essay is a little over three pages (with 1-inch margins and 12-point font), so you should have plenty of room to tell the story and then go into your background and experience. You are welcome to post your rough draft, if you like, for editing suggestions.
Hi! i tried to post my essay, but there is some technical barriers.
Anyway, my academic score was not that much satisfactory. Can you give me an idea how i can explain the reasons in this essay? Write it at the end? Is there any fixed format??
On 8 February, 2003, just a few days after my 17th birthday, my parents and all my relatives congratulated me as I was selected for undergraduate study in the Department of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, the most competitive department of Life Science Study in MY COUNTRY where around 40,000 students apply for 10 undergraduate positions only. Surprisingly, my excitement waned on a sudden thought that there is no more access of Mathematics, my favorite subject, to my academic study. The dilemma between attractive research opportunities in a prestigious subject and my wishful longing to keep in touch with Mathematics and Computing forced me to reconsider about my career path.
At that moment, Biology has been a vague, unexplainable system to me. Since childhood, I've been appealed by the discovery of logic behind any activity, whether it is a common household work or any natural phenomenon (Probably that quality later helped me make outstanding performance in algorithm designing). The beauty of biology first revealed to me on the sophomore year. I was introduced with the domains and motifs of enzymes in the 'Enzyme Kinetics' course. Combinations of so simple motifs function in such a diverse way - for the first time I was fascinated with the profundity of biological systems.
Later, I started realizing that the best application of logic lies in biological systems. To whatever extent a system be seemingly complex, it is possible to explain through methodical study.
I am particularly interested in the 'Signaling Pathway Modeling'. I believe my academic background along with experiences gained through 3 bioinformatics projects stand me best fit for the research work in that field. For a better understanding, I am explaining my background and skills stepwise as mentioned in the website.
1) Determination of the structure of CDKs, their regulators, inhibitors and their substrates -
Background: Sound knowledge on structural features of proteins covered in 2-3 core and advanced level courses. Well-versed in and acquired hands-on experience (through university projects) on -
i) Pepstats-ProtParam tools
ii) BLAST (protein-protein and PSI)
iii) CLUSTALW and MSA
ix) Meta Predict Protein
xi) Helical Wheel
xii) Ramachandran Plot
xiii) 3D structure/Model using Swiss-Pdb Viewer, Rasmol
Experience: Group project and Report submission on "Exploring Proteins using Bioinformatics: from primary to 3D structure" (2005)
2) modelling of interactions between proteins:
Background: Coursework covering Enzyme and Enzyme Kinetics, Proteomics.
Experience: Working on project "Predicting Protein Protein Interactions based only on Sequence Information". Project work requires extensive study on protein structure, domain interface, nature of interacting domain residues, role of charge and mass in protein interaction and so on.
3) study of mutants, GFP fusions and proteomic analysis:
Coursework on transcriptome study (Microarray, SAGE, CAGE, MPSS), Current state of Proteomics Research, Case Study on Sup35 (a prion homolog in human). The proteomics course was designed emulating -- MIT course outline.
4) analysis of the large amount of experimental data already present in the field:
I am working on 'Dengue' database project under supervision of Dr. Jesmin. This project aims to develop a complete database of Dengue Virus (DENV) covering disease mechanism of Dengue. My project emphasized on understanding the overall process of developing a biological database along with minor technical descriptions. To meet the project requirement, I had to explore numerous primary and secondary databases to analyze and compare data formats presented in available databases.
i) Courses covering principles of ESI, MS-MS, MALDI-TOF.
ii) Highest score achieved in the coursework of NMR, IR and MS data analysis and result interpretation.
You certainly have an impressive background! Here are some editing suggestions for you:
Surprisingly, my excitement waned as I suddenly realized that there would be no more access to Mathematics, my favorite subject, in my academic study. The dilemma between attractive research opportunities in a prestigious subject and my wishful longing to keep in touch with Mathematics and Computing forced me to reconsider my career path.
At that moment, Biology has been a vague, unexplainable system to me.- You can't say "At that moment [something] has been, as the tenses don't agree. Perhaps you meant "Up until that moment, biology had been..."
Since childhood, I've been intrigued by the discovery of logic behind any activity, whether it is a common household work or any natural phenomenon. (Probably that quality later helped me make an outstanding performance in algorithm designing). The beauty of biology first revealed itself to me during sophomore year. I was introduced to the domains and motifs of enzymes in the 'Enzyme Kinetics' course. Combinations of such simple motifs function in such a diverse way - for the first time I was fascinated with the profundity of biological systems
I believe my academic background along with experiences gained through 3 bioinformatics projects stand me best stead [or, "projects are the best fit for me] for the research work in that field.
I am working on a 'Dengue' database project under the supervision of Dr. Jesmin. This project aims to develop a complete database of Dengue Virus (DENV) covering the disease mechanism of Dengue. My project emphasizes understanding the overall process of developing a biological database along with minor technical descriptions.
Best of luck in your studies!
Thank you! It really helped. : )
You're welcome! By the way, I see a missing word here: stand me in best stead. This phrase is just a little old-fashioned, though; you might want to try the alternate I suggested.