Khaled Monsoor :: Statement of purpose :: Master’s in Bioinformatics Program

Statement of Purpose
I would like to apply to the Master’s Program in Bioinformatics in the University of Memphis. My career vision is to be a researcher in biotechnology industry. In graduate school, I would like to work on problems around gene expression and its regulation analysis. My interest in Bioinformatics started with my undergraduate thesis. Title of the thesis was "Finding motif in biological sequences using unique binary encoding scheme". This problem is also known as "Planted motif finding problem (l, d)" where l is the motif-length, d is the maximum number of mutation, and L is the length of the full sequence to search. The objective was to design a computationally efficient but simple algorithm. As a result, we designed an algorithm employing some unique techniques such as Unique Binary Encoding scheme, very fast comparison and mismatch calculation by exploiting bit-level operations and using simple data structures like array and linked-list. Complexity analysis of the resulted algorithm's shows it is O(4d) whereas complexity of exact algorithm proposed by Buhler and Tompa is O(4l). Due to close submission deadline, we could not do exhaustive performance benchmarking. Rather, we tested with some sample L=600 datasets where this algorithm shown expected performance. However, my interest for research in Bioinformatics started along this thesis. My career vision, to become a researcher, was reinforced by an IBM-authored video while I was browsing their research-career site. After in-depth analysis of my vision, I came to realize that research in industry best fits into my career enthusiasm. That may provide me with all the resources and opportunities to challenge myself. Though industry is profit-oriented and justifies any expenditure in terms of return of investment, but may provide me a stronger drive and platform to achieve my best. From my analysis and work experience, it seems that my personal skills and passion will best fit into a bleeding-edge research facility. I am envisioning biotechnology as an emerging and world changing technology. As computing boomed in 90’s and mobile-phone technology boomed after 2000, the coming era will be of biotechnology. This technology booming will have a great impact on the overall course of human civilization. In that advancement, Bioinformatics will play as a core component of biotechnology. I want to be an active component of that great change. For that, I need a strong basement of theoretical and practical knowledge.
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Khaled Monsoor :: Statement of purpose :: Master’s in Bioinformatics Program

In theory of Bioinformatics and related biological courses, I am relatively novice. I will also require graduate-level mathematics and statistics courses. However, I have a proven track record of learning quick and adapting to new technologies, both in my study and in my workplaces. My most important personal trait is my ability of "thinking outside of the box". As an example, while in a high school class about "Bubble sort", I thought of a sorting algorithm of linear complexity. After a long while, when I was enrolled in my undergraduate study, I came to know that my sorting algorithm has been invented in 1954 and known as Counting sort. In addition, while in my workplace, I found solutions of a number of problems just by "thinking different". In addition, I also like to mention of my perseverance in my field of interest. As an example, I would like to refer to completion of my undergraduate study in computer science while I was passing through the hardest time of my life. I should also mention that I am able to effectively take part, can contribute and get most out of any collaborative environment. Sometimes, I also acted as the team leader and became a source of inspiration to my mates. I hope best to utilize my abilities in graduate study and begin to contribute in my research group in a short time. I found the Bioinformatics master’s program and its contents fit in my profile. I would like to work in Bioinformatics research group under supervision of Dr. Vinhthuy Phan, as I found my research interest has significant overlap with his. In his continuing research in field of gene expression and regulation analysis problems, I am eager to synthesize data mining and artificial intelligence techniques. That will enable high performance solutions for those problems. Moreover, I am very interested to work in multi-disciplinary teams. I learnt that Memphis has a large medical center, which may be a live source of multi-disciplinary research collaborations. I believe that if I can be a part of the Bioinformatics program, I will achieve my best as well as enrich my research group. Furthermore, I believe that cultural diversity of University of Memphis with its almost 70 percent international students creates a great learning scenario. With all of my personal abilities and great zeal for research, I strongly believe that I will be able to make fundamental contribution in the field of Bioinformatics. I hope best that the MS Program in Bioinformatics will provide me a great foundation. Therefore, I am looking forward to hear positive from you. Best regards, ______________ Khaled Monsoor
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