Dean Hoffer, Data Scientist at Aromyx Corporation
Program: Bioinformatics MS
Graduation: May 2022
When I applied to the Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies, Bioinformatics MS program I was a Research Scientist in an immunotherapeutics lab and was unhappy with my day-to-day work. My background is in immunology as a flow cytometry specialist, and I spent the majority of my career researching and designing experimental therapeutics. Over time, I began to realize that my career was reaching the ceiling with only a BS and I needed to take the next steps to progress as a scientist. With my two months of self-taught, very basic Python, I was dreaming of transitioning out of the lab and into a fully remote, computational role. Without Brandeis and the GPS program that career change would have never been possible.
My time at Brandeis passed quicker than I could have imagined. The weekly structure of the courses was easy to manage with a full workload, and the courses and material were all very useful and pertinent to the current state of the bioinformatics field. However, it is impossible to teach all the material needed in a field, and I think the most important skill that I learned at Brandeis is how to self-teach new material on the job. I also wanted to mention that I think Professor Andrey Sivachenko deserves special recognition for his courses on R and statistical theory. While challenging, these classes were easily the most valuable and well-taught courses I have taken at Brandeis GPS.
In my two years in the Bioinformatics GPS program, I was able to gain a high level of competency in several programming languages and a very strong understanding of statistical theory, all while working full-time. Before even completing the MS, I had accepted two different Data Scientist positions at different companies. I currently do research as a Data Scientist at Aromyx to define the human perception of smell and taste, building machine learning models with cheminformatics, genomics, and proteomics. Brandeis GPS has been a huge success and has helped me transition careers into a higher impact, less stressful, more rewarding, and more fun role. I encourage anyone curious to try it out. The design of the program allows for flexibility, maintaining income, hobbies, and work-life balance. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back for a second MS in a few years!