The relatively new field of bioinformatics

incorporates biology, computer science and information technology to form a single scientific discipline. Major advances in molecular biology and genomic technologies have led to an explosive growth in biological knowledge and information. This in turn has influenced the need for better computer databases to store, organize and index the data and tools to view and analyze the information. Bioinformatics is employed to analyze the human genome, identify targets for drug discovery and to develop new algorithms and analysis methods. In addition, it includes the study of structural and functional biological relationships and molecular evolution.

The bioinformatics major is designed for students interested in molecular biology and genetics, information technologies and computer science. The ultimate goal of bioinformatics is to increase the understanding of biological processes. The employment outlook for majors in bioinformatics is considered to be very promising.

Program Highlights

In successfully completing a major in bioinformatics, students:

  • Gain knowledge and awareness of the basic principles and concepts of biology, computer science and mathematics
  • Apply existing software to extract information from large databases, then use this information in computer modeling
  • Gain problem-solving skills, including the ability to develop new algorithms and analysis methods
  • Understand the intersection of life and information sciences, the core of shared concepts, language and skills
  • Learn the language of structure-function relationships, information theory, gene expression and database query
  • Access internship opportunities
  • Experience in industrial or academic settings

Career-Building Experience

Students are encouraged to participate in internships and field experiences in industrial or academic settings. Faculty and outside speakers in the field make presentations and lead discussions on campus. Senior capstone projects emphasize application of theories involving real-world research as part of a field experience.

Courses

Course work includes classes in biology, chemistry, statistics, evolution, databases and research.

More Information

Fact Sheet

Brandon Kiebler, The GEBA project is a collaborative effort to sequence and better understand the many prokaryotic taxa that are currently underrepresented in our collection of fully annotated genomes. In collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, Pacific University is working to annotate the genome of Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius, a spore-forming thermoacidophile isolated from a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

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