On April 8, 2022, Sarah Morrison-Smith, Barnard's Roman Family Teaching and Research Fellow of Computer Science, co-authored a new paper in the open access journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, alongside Barnard students Catherine O’Brien ’23 and Nazaret Cuadros ’23. Titled “Challenges in large-scale bioinformatics projects,” the article examines the unique challenges that stand in the way of scientists conducting biological and biomedical research.
For this paper, Morrison-Smith and her co-authors interviewed life scientists to explore various aspects of work culture that influence collaboration and communication. The interviews revealed that life science research is increasingly conducted in large, multi-institutional collaborations with large groups that depend on “mutual respect” and partnership among researchers. Additionally, the interdisciplinary nature of such life science collaborations often creates technical language barriers and involves differences in methodology, which ultimately impacts trust. Based on these findings, the authors recommend technological advancements to support life science research as well as life science training programs that include instruction on best practices for project management, technical languages, and discipline culture.