Zahra Waheed | EBI

Slightly unusually, my passion for biology is what lead me to pursue a career in technology.

I studied a BSc in Anatomy, Developmental & Human Biology at King’s College London. While I have always loved learning about how biological blueprints underpin organisms like us, it was my final year project, which utilised specialist image analysis software to explore embryonic development in mice, where I truly saw the biological and technological world collide – and it was thrilling!

I decided to pursue a Master’s in Genetics, where I discovered the cutting-edge field of Bioinformatics – which involves using coding/software skills to store, access and analyse (often large volumes of) biological data - in order to answer important biological questions. My curiosity well and truly piqued, several Bioinformatics modules later I developed a genetic analysis pipeline to further research into Childhood Obesity as part of my MSc project.

Eager to build on my knowledge of coding & technology, I volunteered for not-for-profit coding organisations such as Girls in Tech London, and others, forming a network of inspirational women organising coding workshops, panel discussions and other events to help make technology skills seem less daunting and more accessible to others.

Currently I work as a SARS-CoV-2 Bioinformatician, where I support researchers on an individual and national scale to deposit to and manage SARS-CoV-2 data in a public and internationally accessed genetic archive, the purpose of which is to advance scientific discovery.