UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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UCSD Launches Program in Bioinformatics

Jacobs School Student Writes The Book on Bioinformatics
Jacobs School bioengineering student Per Jambeck is the co-author of Developing Bioinformatics Computer Skills, now a standard textbook around the world. According to publisher O’Reilly & Associates, 21,000 copies sold after a year in print and 80 colleges and universities are planning to adopt it for their bioinformatics courses.

Last fall, UCSD launched a graduate program in bioinformatics, a joint endeavor of the Jacobs School’s Bioengineering and Computer Science and Engineering Departments, Biology, Natural Sciences and the School of Medicine. Twelve students enrolled. Next fall, 50 UCSD undergraduate students will be the first to enroll in a new bioinformatics specialization.

Bioinformatics is an emerging discipline for mining and analyzing the large amounts of data now characterizing genomics, proteomics, pharmacology, and other biological disciplines. Though the focus is on biology and biochemistry, bioinformatics derives methods from mathematics and computer science.

“The type of cross-disciplinary training required [for bioinformatics] is different than the training for engineering or biology or computer science,” says Shankar Subramaniam, professor of bioengineering, and chemistry and biochemistry. “It requires a mindset in which there are good perspectives both on the quantitative aspects as well as the detailed biology.”

The UCSD graduate program is one of only three of its kind selected for funding by the National Institutes of Health. The program has been awarded $859,296 from the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.