Bachelor of Science Degree in Bioinformatics to be launched Fall 2019 semester
In 2003, UIC Bioengineering was the first in Illinois and one of the first in the nation to establish Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in Bioinformatics. This was led by University Distinguished Professor Richard L. Magin, who was department head at that time, and Hill Professor Jie Liang, lead faculty member for the Bioinformatics group in our department.
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and computing tools for understanding biological data. As an interdisciplinary field of science, bioinformatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data. Bioinformatics is routinely used in sequencing and annotating genomes and their observed mutations, analysis of gene and protein expression and regulation and prediction of biomolecular structure, and simulation and modeling of interactions of DNA, RNA and proteins. Bioinformatics also plays fundamental roles in analyzing and cataloging the biological pathways and networks in systems biology and is extremely importantly in developing personalized medicine.
The new B.S. program in Bioinformatics will provide high-quality, comprehensive bioinformatics undergraduate training. The program, housed in the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering, will be supported by the research and educational expertise from both the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computer Science. The synergistic integration and building upon existing programs in the two departments allows the college to offer a unique Bioinformatics undergraduate education that is responsive to growing job opportunities linked to personalized medicine and healthcare. The program will provide students with a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum. The goal of the curriculum is to train students to develop innovative methods and technologies in the field of bioinformatics in order to solve problems and to create new knowledge. Students will be prepared with quantitative skills at the interface of biology, computer science, chemistry, and mathematics.
Students can apply for enrollment in the current Bioengineering program and declare their concentration area specialization as Bioinformatics. This option has been a part of the Bioengineering undergraduate degree program since 2003. Once the new B.S. in Bioinformatics degree program is formally launched these students will be given the option to immediately switch over to the new degree program, which will have the same course requirements as Bioengineering for the first year of the curriculum.