Masters of Science in Bioinformatics in USA

What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field combining biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics and statistics and can extend to include medicine, pharmacy. Bioinformatics is the application of information technology to capture, process, analyze, manage and interpret data biological data that helps in decoding plant genomes, genes, proteins, drug ingredients and metabolic pathways. It offers analysis software for data studies and comparisons and provides tools for modelling, visualising, exploring and interpreting data for biological, biomedical, and biotechnology research. Two important large-scale activities that use bioinformatics are genomics and proteomics.
Bioinformatics helps to explain and predict organization, structure and function of biological systems; understand genetic mechanisms of normal and abnormal development on a cellular level, dynamics of gene expression, molecular factors and cellular network perturbations leading to tumor, microbial virulence, etc; as well as develop new drug discovery targets, new vaccines and new therapies for treating human diseases

Branches of Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is broadly divided into two groups – animal bioinformatics and plant bioinformatics. This can be further divided into Agricultural Bioinformatics, Horticultural Bioinformatics, Medicinal Plants Bioinformatics, Forest Plant Bioinformatics. Bioinformatics have several other useful applications in Medical science, Forensic science, Pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

In medical science computer aided studies are useful in detection of genetic diseases at an early stage of life. In forensic science, bioinformatics is useful in settling disputed cases of children and detecting criminal cases. In pharmaceutical industry, it helps in detecting various metabolic pathways involved in the production of a medicine, aiding their mass production.

Skills required to become a Bioinformatician

Key skills include communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills; ability to use statistical software; familiarity with database programming and graphic algorithms; knowledge of mathematics, computers, electronics, chemistry, and biology.

Prerequisites to pursue an Masters of Science in Bioinformatics in USA

Students enrolling in the MS program need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to bioinformatics- either the computational area or in biochemistry/molecular biology. Knowledge of computer programming, applied mathematics, statistical analysis, biology, and genetics is an added advantage. Prior experience of computer programming is not required as student will be taught the latest tools and techniques in bioinformatics.

Universities that offer MS in Bioinformatics in the US:

Purdue University
Stanford University
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
University of California San Diego
Rutgers University
Oregon State University
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Oregon Health and Science University
Boston University
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Georgia Institute of Technology
Virginia Commonwealth University
University of California at Santa Cruz
University of North Carolina
New Jersey Institute of Technology
San Diego State University
Columbia University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Northeastern University
University of Pittsburg
Rochester Institute of Technology
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Indiana University – Bloomington
Arizona State University
University Texas at El Paso
University of Pennsylvania
George Washington University
University of MD- Baltimore County
Iowa State University
University of Nebraska at Omaha

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Course Work for Masters of Science in Bioinformatics in USA

Since large data sets are managed and manipulated to reveal new insights in biological sciences, an MS in bioinformatics will get intensive training in a computer-based approach to biological research, with the opportunity to develop specialist skills in computer programming, data analysis, statistics and computational biology.

Major Subjects in Masters of Science in Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics involves the integration of computers, software tools, and databases in an effort to address biological questions. Curriculum includes
Algorithms, network architecture, principles of software design
Database management and Data Mining, Machine Learning
Computer programming, and applications to experimental design and analysis
Biotechnology methods, and biostatistics.
Scientific Visualization
Principles of Biology, Biological Networks
Marine Ecology, Ecology, Insect Ecology, Microbial Ecology
Theory of Evolution and Foundation of Modern Biology
Plant Physiology, Plant Ecology
Invertebrate Biology, Vertebrate Biology
Biology of Insects, Molecular Biology
Environmental Physiology
Embryology and Development
Computational Biology: Genomes, Networks, Evolution
Biological Database Systems
Physical Chemistry for Systems Biology
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry for Bioinformatics

Learning Outcomes from a Masters in Bioinformatics

Students graduating with an MS in Bioinformatics are expected to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the core concepts of Bioinformatics, including computational biology, database design and implementation, and probability and statistics.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply skills in a professional
  • Be able to effectively communicate scientific information in written and oral form.
  • Development of algorithms for biological sequence and structure analysis and function prediction
  • Application of bioinformatics to disease diagnosis, classification, prognosis, and treatment

Careers for MS in Bioinformatics

There are many career options available to a trained bioinformatics specialist, ranging from medical research to database management or software development. Bioinformatics scientists earn an average yearly salary of US$79,00. Some popular career options include:
Bioinformatics Software Developer
Computational Biologist
Bioinformatics Scientist
Science Technician
Natural Science Managers
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
Research Scientist / Associate
Network Administrator / Analyst
Database Programmer

Future scope of Bioinformatics

Thus modern biological and medical research and development cannot be done without bioinformatics. Bioinformatics will continue playing an important role in future applications in biology, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, medicine, and agriculture as well as in biomedical research.

STEM Degree – Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics

Masters of Science in Bioinformatics at most US Universities is a STEM degree. This means, you can thus work in the US for upto three years after studying MS in Bioinformatics. Learn more about STEM Courses in the US

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