PROFILE: Siew-Yit Yong, Senior Software Engineer, Bioinformatics
"I always wanted to be an engineer. Like many others, I used to take stuff apart at home growing up, not always able to put them back together. I am fascinated by how things work."
My name is Siew-Yit Yong (They/Them), and I have an MSc in Medical Molecular Biology. That’s how I got into bioinformatics. My supervisor asked me if I would like to work on a project that involves molecular dynamics. According to Wikipedia, molecular dynamics is a computer simulation method for analyzing the physical movements of atoms and molecules. It sounded exciting, so I said yes.
Using softwares, I created a 3D structure of an enzyme called beta-galactosidase and simulated its interaction with sugar. After that, I worked as a bioinformatician for nearly ten years classifying proteins. Currently, I am a senior software engineer that supports a team of biologists who gather cancer genetic data.
I always wanted to be an engineer. Like many others, I used to take stuff apart at home growing up, not always able to put them back together. I am fascinated by how things work.
I was born and raised in Malaysia. I came over to the UK by myself (a typical Capricorn) for an adventure 15 years ago but never left. It was really tough to get a job initially, even with my BSc. I had only £500 so I had to find something quick. I ended up working for McDonald’s for a few months before moving on to a supermarket job. Then, I decided to get a master’s degree in London. I reckon having my lecturers vouched for me was the key to getting back into science.
1. The basic building blocks of proteins are called amino acids. Just like DNA are made up of ATCG building blocks. There are twenty common amino acids.
2. Proteins are shaped by the chemical properties of these amino acids. By how much they attracted to or repelled each other.
3. You can predict the functions of proteins by their shapes.
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