the code of life
is the new avenue for scores of biology students who have
a keen interest in computers and software. The recent years
has seen a shift in focus from traditional branches of biology
like as Botany and Zoology to Genetics, Microbiology, Biotechnology
and Molecular Biology. The result of the shift is the emergence
of Bioinformatics as a subject. Bioinformatics is a combination
of biology and computer science. It provides an effective
means of handling, accessing, analysing and integrating
biological data. It uses computer technology to handle and
maintain large amounts of biological information.
since the first genetic sequence was deciphered in the 70s,
Biology has been steadily evolving into an information science.
Efforts made by The Human Genome Project and various other
projects, have made Bioinformatics enter the industry about
decade ago. Today, the Human Genome Project now aims to
elucidate the sequences of all human genes by the year 2005.
With this information scientists can understand how genes
interact in health and disease.
information is the key to understanding genes and their
functioning. Making sense of this gives us an insight into
how we function in health and what goes wrong when we contract
disease, and why some people are allergic to certain drugs
while others are not.
other specific areas that fall within the scope of bioinformatics
are sequence assembly, database design and maintenance,
gene analysis, proteomics and pharmacogenomics.
a career in Bioinformatics you need to have a strong background
in two areas- biology and computer science. You need to
have either a computer science graduate with an additional
degree in biology or a biologist with a degree in computer
also play an important role especially in drug development.
Studying the behaviour of complex molecules and developing
tools to find out their capabilities would require a person
with a background in chemistry.
you want to pursue a Bioinformatics in India however, the
course is offered only as an advanced post-graduate diploma,
in select universities. Science graduates, postgraduates
or PhDs with specialisation in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry,
Genetics, Microbiology, Structural Biology, Medicinal Chemistry,
Neurosciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Veterinary Sciences,
Food Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology, Physics,
Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics are eligible to apply
for this course. Computer scientists, IT professionals and
software engineers with a background in specialised tools
and database programmes are eligible too.
As a Bioinformatician, you need to be able to work with
scientists, to help them organize data. You also need to
work with the people who are mining data in and see that
it is stored in a retrievable fashion. Hence you need to
be a team player with good interpersonal skills. Companies
are looking for good problem solvers. People who can think
creatively and look for better ways to do computations.
- They develop new computational tools exemplifying
novel algorithms and analytic techniques
apply existing tools to achieve new insights about molecular
for computer skills, you need to have a knowledge of the
UNIX operating system, programming languages such as C,
C++, Java, or Perl. You need to know how to work with relational
databases such as Oracle and Sybase. Knowledge of CORBA,
and CGI web scripting is also essential.
are several universities in India, which offer an advanced
diploma in bioinformatics. Some of them are the University
of Pune, Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh,
Jawaharlal Nehru University and Madurai Kamaraj University.
you want to pursue higher studies in bioinformatics in the
US, the Boston University, the University of Washington,
Washington University (in St. Louis), the University of
Pennsylvania, George Mason University, the University of
California at Santa Cruz, the University of Houston, Baylor
College of Medicine, Rice University, and Stanford University
are the top universities that offer related courses.
industries and premier scientific institutions like Celera
Genomics, CuraGen and Centre for
and Molecular Biology are a few well-known names
from positions in the academic and pharmaceutical industry,
the typical job roles are that of a systems analyst, software
engineer, applications analyst, database designer or administrator,
network designer or administrator, programmer, technical
support, marketing, systems engineer, and others associated
with the field of bioinformatics.
field of bioinformatics has great future for students of
biology having exceptional computational skills. This budding
field is all set to flourish. It only requires the right
talent to build, organise and manage the complex biological
: A meeting place for bioinformatics professionals from
India. For jobs, surveys, careers and industry scoop, follow
: About.com's guide to jobs in Bioinformatics. To read about
the history, what's hot and what's hotter, follow this link.
To know why Bioinformatics is being considered as 'the next
revolution' after IT, follow this link.
: For the latest international news in Bioinformatics, follow
: A non-profit organization that provides access to bioinformatics
research projects.It also provides Open Source software
for Bioinformatics by hosting its development, and keeping
biological information freely available. To find out more
about this community, follow this link