Authors: Angelone, Laura; Pilar Bulacio; Natalia C. Iglesias; Elizabeth Tapia; Flavia Krsticevic,.
Title: The value of being empathetic for women in science: The Bioinformatics Case.
Resumen: Understanding the rules of life is the long-term goal of life-sciences. Just us letters from a four-letter alphabet, DNA bases are used to encode genetic information into DNA molecules. DNA sequencing is the process of reading DNA bases with the purpose of understanding the rules of life. Great progress in DNA sequencing, time and cost, occurred over the last 20 years. A breakthrough happened with the introduction of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies capable of reading millions of DNA fragments in parallel. The publication of the first human genome in 2001 demonstrated the power of NGS technologies to sequence DNA at unprecedented speed. At the same time, the importance of an emerging field of scientific study known as Bioinformatics was revealed. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops and applies computational methods to analyze large collections of biological data like those generated by NGS sequencing machines. In the development of Bioinformatics methods, a number of disciplines converge, including Biology, Computer Science and Information Technologies. Bioinformatics origin dates back to early 1965 when Margaret Dayhoff, a pioneering research biochemist, published the first computer-based collection of protein sequences -a kind of gene product- in the Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structures, the model for the GenBank and many other molecular databases. The systematic analysis of huge amounts of biological data arising from ubiquitous NGS projects represents a great challenge for biology and computer science researchers. Remarkably, Bioinformatics provide unique opportunities not only for closing the gender gap in STEM sciences but for developing high-impact biotech startups that can contribute to food security, to affordable healthcare, and to a greener economy. Almost two decades after the human genome hallmark, we are now witnessing the acknowledgment to the unique way female scientists undertook interdisciplinary work to extract knowledge from genomic data (2018 and 2019 ISCB awards have been for women, Bonnie Berger and Ruth Nussinov) and early anticipated the value of such knowledge in future economies (23andMe biotech founded in 2006 by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki). Looking backward, in this contribution, we aim to explore the driving forces behind this phenomena and suggest that the empathic approach we empirically used in our own experience -BioAgroInformatics- might explain it. In studies of cognitive, a specific emotional capacity, viz. empathy, is frequently mentioned as a critical ability in all kind of communications. Empathy, either innate or acquired, is crucial for developing a culture of collaboration in multidisciplinary groups like those required in Bioinformatics. As recently reported, women have more empathy than men (Warrier et al, 2018) despite the limited evidence of sex-specific genetic architecture. However, a denser connectivity pattern between the left (analytical) and right brain hemispheres (intuition) has been previously observed in women than in men (Ingalhalikar et al., 2014). Since empathy helps to better achieve cross-fertilization of knowledge exchange required in multidisciplinary research teams, eases networking and promotes diverse mentoring (Rothem and Pfirman, 2007), we highlight the importance of stressing the value of empathy as a unique gift for women in science and the concomitant need of an early and horizontal education in the matter (Reiss, 2017).
Meeting type: Congreso.
Production: The value of being empathetic for women in science: The Bioinformatics Case.
Scientific meeting: 1er Congreso Internacional Bianual de Genero en Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación.
Organizing Institution: Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva de Santa Fe (MinCTIP) .
It's published?: No
Meeting month: 6