About the Program

Scientific discovery is the result of creative interplay between inductive and deductive reasoning. Computational models play an increasingly important role in deducing the consequences of explanatory models, yet biologists are routinely hindered by the limitations of models currently available as software. In part this results from a lack of interdisciplinary training in both biological and computational sciences. This program seeks to achieve two goals: 1) to develop an understanding of the issues associated with developing biologically meaningful computational models, and 2) to give students the broad-based education that is needed to create a set of models directed towards solving a practical biomedical problem. In the process, it is hoped that the student will learn how to meld biological and quantitative skills. Students participating in this degree program will be better positioned to develop productive careers in the burgeoning fields of computational biology and bioinformatics.

Employment and Research Opportunities

Employment opportunities for students with these skills can be found throughout industry, including the areas of healthcare, forensics and the pharmaceutical companies. As one might expect in an emerging field, even more research opportunities exist. Here are a few:

  • the creation of biological algorithms and heuristics that are computationally efficient on serial and parallel computers;
  • the analysis of the primary (sequence), secondary (folding), and tertiary (3-dimensional) structures of DNA, RNA and protein sequences;
  • genomic diversity (the study of disease genes, variation, mutations, etc.);
  • comparative genomics (whole genomes, genome structures, gene locations and function);
  • genomic engineering;
  • the development and application of theoretical techniques for the design of molecular medicine;
  • analytical chemistry techniques or molecular biological experimental work, guided by computational structural analysis.