What is chemical informatics?
Chemical informatics involves applying computational and informational technologies, such as machine learning and data mining, to the field of chemistry. Computer simulations can be used to model the molecular structures and properties of new drugs that could be used to treat cancer. These properties are compiled into chemical databases. Computers can then analyze these data and make predictions about how drugs will interact with the human body, discover new compounds, and improve drug design. Overall, chemical informatics plays an important role in designing safer and more effective drugs for treating cancer.
What does it take to be a chemical informatician?
Chemical informaticians often hold undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science, information science, or chemistry. The work of a chemical informatician involves maintaining databases for chemical information and developing new algorithms for predicting properties of chemical compounds. Although it is not required, many chemical informaticians have background knowledge of biology and the life sciences.
Where is the field of chemical informatics heading?
Chemical informatics algorithms are often used to bridge the gap between the chemical and biological molecules to predict the effect a drug will have on a patient. Currently, biological data such as DNA sequences can be used to identify targets of a potential drug. In the future, as more chemical compounds are catalogued into databases, more accurate computational models will be developed to help target cancer cells. These models may help chemical informaticians better predict the precise mechanisms by which a drug targets cancer cells and could give insight into how a drug will be absorbed and broken down in the body.