Skip to main content

Introduction to Bioinformatics

Department: Biomedical Informatics                                

Instructors: Jiyoung Park, PhD and Jordan Campbell
Instructors' Emails:
Prerequisites: AP Biology strongly encouraged, no Programming knowledge required.
Section ID: 153948

Office hours for Jiyoung Park: Mon., Weds., & Fri. from 11am - 11:50am
Office hours for Jordan Campbell: Mon. - Fri. from 7:00am - 8:00am
Pre-recorded lectures will be provided online


Course Description

As contemporary biologists we have entered an age where the use of computers in our daily work has become all but essential. The manipulation and analysis of DNA, RNA and protein data by electronic means has become a routine task. Further, the amount of DNA, RNA and protein sequence data we are putting into databases every day is expanding at a geometric rate, and with coming advances in sequencing technology this rate is only expected to increase. With all this new data, analysis by individual humans is simply not possible. Thus, in the past 15 years, computational biology has emerged as a field concerned with storage, manipulation, and extraction of valuable information from all this new data. However, because computational biology is an emerging field, organized courses are generally saved for higher-level study, and often are not required parts of an undergraduate curriculum. We seek to fill this void in education, and create a course that will introduce students to bioinformatics at an earlier point in their education. This knowledge will prove to be not simply useful, but essential, for any student considering a degree in any area of biology and medical science.

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

The objective of this course will be to introduce students to the fundamentals of molecular biology and recent advance in genomics technology. These principals underlie much of modern bioinformatics, and students will be shown how they apply to many of the basic bioinformatics methods that are of common use in the field. This course also aims to provide students with practical and hands-on programming experience with commonly used bioinformatics tools and databases. Students will be trained in the basic theory and application of programs used for database searching, protein and DNA sequence analysis, and prediction of protein function. Students will also discuss the social impact and ethical considerations of this emerging technology and overwhelming information.


Course Topics

  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Introduction to the Unix command line on Macs
  • Evolution
  • Alignment
  • Introduction to using BLAST
  • Molecular Biology
  • Predictive Tools
  • Protein Databank
  • Phylogenetics
  • DNA Sequencing
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Future directions of Bioinformatics


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.