Bioinformatics is the field that has emerged from the application of computer science, information science and mathematics to problems in biology and the life sciences, especially those involving large data sets such as genomes. Highly inter-disciplinary in nature, bioinformatics has attracted biologists, physicists, mathematicians, chemists and computer scientists.
The Bioinformatics Major encompasses a wide variety of possibilities, such as computational biology and biomathematics, by providing students with a core of courses drawn from the life sciences, mathematics and computer science, as well as specific bioinformatics courses, and which provide students with the necessary backgroud to begin research, along with the choice of one of three tracks: Biomathematics, Genomics, and Simulation and Modeling. The core courses ensure that students have a solid grounding in all the skills and knowledge required of such an interdisciplinary field, and the tracks allow for the student to focus on the area of their particular interest.
The Biomathematics Track is designed for students who are interested in Biomathematics or Mathematical Biology, that is, those interested in an emphasis on the mathematical modeling ofproblems arising in the life sciences. This track provides students with further quantitative skills necessary for tackling such problems as the development of mathematical models of ecosystems and physiological processes.
The Genomics Track is designed for students that are interested in the experimental aspects of the life sciences that generate the data and pose the questions that bioinformatics seeks to answer through applications of computer science and mathematical modeling. This track gives students the experimental background to continue research in fields such as proteomics, genomics, phylogeny and other branches of molecular biology and genetics where large amounts of experimental data are produced and analyzed.
Simulation and Modeling Track
The Simulation and Modeling Track is designed for students that are interested in computer modeling, visualization, and the development of algorithms and computational techniques that arise in the sciences. This track provides students with further computer science skills in modeling and high-level programming, allowing them to work in computationally intensive areas such as protein folding prediction or network simulations and artificial intelligence in neuroscience.