As a student studying bioinformatics, almost all of the research that I have done has work that only pertains to the natural sciences and public health. My first research experience was in a lab that worked with a bacteria that causes Cholera disease, to identify the genes that allow V. Cholerae to resist antibiotics. Then, I proceeded to work on a qualitative project in public health before moving on to statistical work. Through these I learned how to be an algorithmic thinker and problem solve in logical and systematic ways. However, my research never deeply focused on fields such as humanities and social sciences, which are approaches that should be accounted for when studying disparities in healthcare related to economic resources and race/ethnicity.
The Brackenridge fellows are researching in a diverse range of fields; many projects have a focus on humanities and social sciences, which are vastly different from the research experiences I have had. However, expanding our collaborative breadth of knowledge and approaching research questions from an interdisciplinary perspective can lead to better outcomes overall. Within my cohort, many of the projects are related to either science and healthcare, similar to mine, however they focus on different aspects on these than I do, with projects focused on cancer diagnostics and treatment options and other lab science based projects. A lot of our projects still share the common goal of improving health outcomes, such as Ella and Ben’s. However, there are also projects studying history and literature that are vastly different from mine, such as Alison and David’s projects, but I can certainly learn and implement aspects from their unique approaches to their research into my own work.
It is rare for research trainees and students working within a specific field like myself to interact with students from other disciplines. However, the Brackenridge allows us to work with researchers studying a variety of topics, and this skillful combining of knowledge from different disciplines can lead to the production of novel solutions to elaborate problems. Along with these benefits though, there are limitations in the communication of research among different disciplines. Throughout the Brackenridge experience, mutually understandable communication has been emphasized, and will therefore allow for a more smoothly run collaboration.