The Department of Computer Science has started in 1997/98 a new track of study - Bioinformatics. The opening of this track is connected to important developments which occured in the last several years, and others which seem to be awaiting us in the next few years. These developments are enhancing the usage of computers in research in life sciences in general and in drug development in particular. Firstly, the genome sequencing projects are producing amino acid sequences of thousands of proteins every year. Complete full genomes, include the human genome, have been sequenced in the last couple of years, and dozens are going to become available within a few years. The human genome alone is estimated to encode the sequences of some 30,000-40,000 proteins. To gain a full understanding of the molecular biology of organisms, each of these protein sequences needs to be identified, along with its function and 3-dimensional structure. At the same time, more effective and reliable computational tools are required for predicting the functions and 3-dimensional structures of proteins and for simulation of the interaction between molecules in space. To meet the challenges, new computational methods need be developed to aid at the various stages of the process, from the sequence determination itself and the storage and retrieval of the information, up to the three-dimensional modeling and function assignment of the corresponding proteins. As these developments require a broad background and understanding in several areas: Mathematics and Statistics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Life Sciences, it is the aim of this program to lay the foundation for such a background.The program is an excellent basis for students planning to continue their studies for a higher degree in CS, Biology, Chemistry, Biotechnology and related areas. For students aiming at finding a job after their first degree, it is expected that they will be as likely to find a CS job as other CS students, but only a few may find a job in the growing, but currently small, bioinformatics industry.
students are accepted directly to this program and to the computer science department, which means the same admission requirements. However, the number of slots in the bioinformatics program is limited. We encourage students with previous interest in chemistry and molecular biology to apply. (No previous knowledge in these areas is assumed, however.) The number of places in the track is very limited, so that only a fraction of those who are indeed interested can be admitted.
The program is quite demanding, especially in being inter-disciplinary. Approximately two thirds of the time is devoted to Mathematics, and Computer Science, while the other third consists of Physics, Chemistry and Life Sciences. For more details see the recommended schedule (Updated 8.2002). Note that, as the field is rapidly developing, some changes are to be expected.
The program was developed by Miriam Cohen, Daniel Fischer and Daniel Berend from the Department of Computer Science and David Chipman from the Department of Life Sciences. Inquiries should be addressed to Daniel Fischer .