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#WhyBioinformatics Q&A with Maria Nikoghosyan

Who are you and how did you choose the bioinformatics path?

I am Maira Nikoghosyan, a Bioinformatics Ph.D. student at Russian-Armenian University (RAU) and a researcher at the Bioinformatics group (BIG) of the Institute of Molecular Biology NAS RA.  I started studying Bioinformatics in 2013 during my bachelor’s at RAU. During the study, I discovered BIG, which was the only group in Armenia focused on genomic bioinformatics research. I joined BIG as a trainee and later became a team member. In 2017 I started my first research project, which in the future became my master’s thesis. The topic of the project was the analysis of the genetic variations, which increase the risk of disease development in different populations. I continued to develop that research topic, and now it is my Ph.D. project.  

What do you do at ABI?  

I joined ABI from the first period of its formation in February of 2021 as a researcher.  I was a mentor during ABI’s OMICS School 2021, and now am a mentor at ABI Research School. I guide a data science student Anush Baloyan on the research on the evaluation of genetic risk factors for complex human disorders. 

Why is bioinformatics important? 

Nowadays, most of the cutting-edge research in different areas of biology generates huge amounts of data. This creates a need for specialists such as bioinformaticians to analyze that data and develop tools for the analysis. It is crucial for the whole world, but especially for Armenia, to prepare professionals for the milestones that are being created. In the end, bioinformatics is super fun and enjoyable!