Fall 2009

Bioinformatics minor offered

Bioinformatics, an emerging field applicable to issues from DNA studies and gene therapy to climate change and pest-resistant crops, is UDM's latest offering as an academic minor. The program combines Molecular Biology and Computer Science to analyze biological data and solve health and environmental problems.

Student in lab
Student completes assignment in Biology lab.

In Bioinformatics, teams from Biology, Biochemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics collaborate to provide insight into the function of the cell. They use computers to store, compare, retrieve, analyze and predict the composition or structure of molecules.

The new minor, which is open to any major provided the prerequisites are met, became available for student enrollment beginning this fall.

"Knowledge from Bioinformatics studies could affect how we deal with a number of health, agricultural, environmental and energy issues," says Kevin Daimi, director of Computer Science Programs. "Like Nanotechnology, it has significant potential for improving our lives."

Gregory Grabowski, chairperson and associate professor, Biology Department, adds, "We're excited to offer science majors more opportunities and career choices through the Bioinformatics minor. The application of computer science within the field of Biology is a very powerful tool. The University is in line with contemporary progress."

Real-life applications include molecular and preventive medicine, drug development, waste cleanup, alternative energy, bio-weapon development, nutrition and insect and drought-resistant crops.

For more information on UDM's new Bioinformatics minor, please e-mail Kevin Daimi.