2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
    Apr 12, 2024  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bioinformatics Concentration

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Undergraduate Concentration

Bioinformatics has developed at the juncture of the mathematical sciences and the life sciences; its development is analogous to that of molecular biology as a discipline in its own right. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bioinformatics is “research, development or application of computational tools and approaches for expanding the use of biological, medical, behavioral or health data, including those to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyze or visualize such data.” Indeed, there is a consensus among observers that biology, regardless of the subspecialty, is being overwhelmed with a large amount of very complex data; what sets biology apart from other data-rich fields is the complexity rather than the sheer volume of the data produced. It is clear that collaboration between computer scientists, mathematicians, biologists and biochemists will be necessary to design information platforms that support the analysis of biological data. The application of mathematical and computational tools to all areas of biology is producing many exciting results, providing insights into biological problems too complex for traditional analysis.

The concentration in bioinformatics at Clark is offered by the departments of Mathematics and Computer Science in collaboration with the departments of Biology and Chemistry. It introduces students to some of the present paradigms and tools in this rapidly evolving discipline and combines knowledge of biology and chemistry with principles from mathematics and computer science that can be used to design tools to solve problems in the life sciences. It is especially well suited for undergraduates who are interested in the life sciences and enjoy quantitative thinking. Students who graduate with a concentration in bioinformatics will be in a strong position to go into industry or continue their education in graduate school either in their major or in a graduate program in bioinformatics.

Concentration Requirements

Categories A, B or C

The concentration requires three core courses, plus three electives at least one of which must be at the 200 level. The electives may be chosen from a wide variety of mathematics, computer science, biology and biochemistry courses in consultation with an adviser. In particular the concentration is designed to be rigorous but flexible.

Course Requirements


Three Electives:

  1. At least one of these must be at the 200 level.
  2. With the exception of BCMB majors, two of the three electives must be selected from two of the categories A, B, C, or D as listed below. BCMB majors require only one elective (from categories C or D) not directly related to the major. In all cases the third elective can come from any category.
  3. At least one may not count as an elective in the student’s major, unless the student is doing a dual major in two of the majors listed below.


Possible Bioinformatics Electives

There are a great deal of options in pursuing a Bioinformatics Concentration. Below is a listing of all possible electives a student may take.


Two electives (see note b) must come from two of the following categories:


  Categories B, C or Dc
Chemistry   Categories B, C or D
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology   Categories C or D
Mathematicsc   Categories A, B or C
Computer Science   Categories A, B or C

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