M.S. with Specialization in Bioinformatics
The Bioinformatics program will expose students to molecular biology techniques, data analysis and bioinformatics. Research opportunities in this program are diverse, as research in existing faculty labs across the department involves many aspects of bioinformatics and molecular analysis – from genome annotation to molecular signaling pathways within a single cell. Moreover, microbes, plants and animals all operate on the same principle – a four letter nucleic acid code, and a 20 letter amino acid set of building blocks, so the principles of molecular analysis transcend kingdoms and broadly apply to any organism.
As stated on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website, "Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology merge to form a single discipline. Biology in the 21st century is being transformed from a purely lab-based science to an information science as well."
In the post-genomic era, biologists are faced with an enormous amount of data and information that they must process and apply to solve problems in biology – like:
- How do cells function, and what causes their cancerous transformation?
- How are organisms related evolutionarily?
- Why does one patient respond to a drug, when another does not?
- What genes are required to make a pathogen cause disease or become antibiotic-resistant?
Students from the Biotechnology program will be able to pursue careers in academia or industry armed with the fundamental skills to address such questions, and demand for students trained in this area is high.