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Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Program

Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

Program Director: Dr. Zhiping Weng
Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology

Notable achievements of the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology include:

  • a faculty member developing an algorithm to predict protein-protein interactions, consistently scoring among the best in the CAPRI competition; 
  • faculty members awarded NIH grants; and
  • a faculty member developing a method to find the signatures of natural selection in the genomic data.

The Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology offers graduate study and research focused on the development and application of computational and mathematical models to biological problems, with an emphasis on the now-available, high-throughput genomic and proteomic data. Specific topics of research and study include systems biology; analysis of regulatory and metabolic networks; structure of the genome and comparative genomics; population genetics and molecular evolution; protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions; RNA; modeling of large-scale biological systems; structural biology; protein folding and modeling; and biological physics. Students receive a rigorous training in modern bioinformatics and computational biology through integration of guided research, coursework and participation in seminar programs. The program aims to bridge the gap between wet-lab biologists and computational scientists to their mutual benefit, and prepares students for careers in cutting-edge, highly quantitative biomedical research.

Requirements for Specialization 

Laboratory research is of primary importance in the PhD program, and starts with three semesters of laboratory rotations in the program’s or the affiliated faculty’s laboratories. Students directly contact the faculty member in whose laboratory they would like to work to discuss their rotation project. Rotations can be of full- or half-semester projects, and students are highly encouraged to start a rotation project during the summer prior to the start of their first academic year. 
In addition to the mandatory, first-year Basic Biomedical Sciences core classes, students will take three Advanced Topics courses, two of which must be in Bioinformatics. Elective advanced courses can be chosen from those offered by the program or other GSBS programs as appropriate, such as Molecular Biophysics. The plan of the coursework is flexible in order to accommodate each student’s needs and interests.