The completion of the human genome sequence early in the 21st century marked the beginning of a new era of biological research. Since that time, life sciences research has generated an explosion of big data, with biology becoming an increasingly quantitative science. Computational approaches, in combination with experimental methods, have become essential for generating novel hypotheses, deriving new scientific knowledge, and driving discovery and innovation.
The bioinformatics market is expected to grow to $12.86 by 2020. As Big Data is pouring out of life sciences research, it is creating ample opportunities for scientists with expertise in bioinformatics, computer science, and related skill sets. Big pharma, biotech, and software companies are clamoring to hire professionals with experience in bioinformatics and the management, analysis, and visualization of huge amounts of biological and health care information.
The University of Delaware’s Bioinformatics Certificate, Master’s, and PhD educational programs aim to train the next generation of researchers and professionals who will play a key role in multi- and interdisciplinary teams, bridging life sciences and computational sciences. The program is administered through its academic home, the Department of Computer & Information Sciences (CIS), and is coordinated by the Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (CBCB). The scientific curriculum is built upon the research and educational strength from departments across the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Earth, Ocean & Environment.
A special feature of the program is the close research collaboration among participating Departments across Colleges. Faculty from the various participating disciplines in these departments allow graduate students to gain research and professional expertise in bioinformatics and computational biology in multi- and interdisciplinary teams.
Another feature of the program is its coordination through the Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (CBCB) core facility which provides extensive bioinformatics resources and capabilities at the BioIT Center at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). The BioIT Center provides both computing infrastructure and cyberknowledgeable personnel with significant hardware, software and professional support for computational and data management needs. The computing infrastructure includes a High-Performance Computer Cluster, a Database Server Cluster, and an immersive 3-D Visualization Studio. The PIR is a public bioinformatics resource that provides integrated databases and analytical tools to support genomics, proteomics and systems biology research. The PIR web sites are freely accessible by researchers worldwide with over 4 million hits per month from over 100,000 unique sites, while the FTP sites serve over 1 terabyte of data download monthly.