UCSD Launches Program in Bioinformatics
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
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.