Monday, April 9, 2012

Attend Bioinformatics Courses Geared at Mature Students

After attending bioinformatics courses, professionals have many options in the field. For example, they may become Bioinformatics Analysts who contribute to genomic sequencing projects and scientific analysis of the data generated by those projects using a variety of bioinformatics techniques and software applications. Their responsibilities may include generating, annotating, and analyzing genomic data and preparing the data for further research or publication. On the other hand, they may also become bioinformatics software developers, bioinformatics research technicians, application developers, software developers, database developers who work in academic, government and industrial labs. Bioinformatics professionals can also be utilized in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and environmental industries and in all areas of biotechnology. Recently, there has been a demand for professionals who have completed bioinformatics courses.

Where exactly can one train for these options? Centennial College’s Bioinformatics for Software Professionals offers a year’s worth of bioinformatics courses that are intensive, hands-on and problem-based, and result in a post-degree bioinformatics certificate. This is beneficial as Bioinformatics merges biology with information technology and computers. As such, it uses the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques and theory to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data. Much of the study level of the bioinformatics courses in this program’s curriculum is beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Faculty members who lead the bioinformatics courses in the program are knowledgeable and approachable with diverse business experience and academic credentials. They encourage a mature learning environment that includes course homework, an individual research thesis and a co-op component (which sees students working in the field during their last semester), providing students with the unique skill set and training that are in high demand in the field.

Specific bioinformatics courses within the program include: Statistics and Data Analysis For Bioinformatics (introductory course in bioinformatics data analysis designed to provide a breadth of topical coverage. The main categories of topics include statistical, stochastic and multi-dimensional analysis); Bioinformatics Algorithms (students examine the major algorithms used in bioinformatics and describe their underlying principles. Through case-study analysis, students evaluate the practical applications and limitations of current bioinformatics algorithms. Students also demonstrate the role of optimization techniques and dynamic programming techniques in bioinformatics); Database Design and Biological Data Management (students design, utilize, and integrate biological databases to facilitate novel approaches for biological data management, retrieval and analysis. Students evaluate major database implementation issues and demonstrate software project management skills); and many others.

Past students who have completed all of the bioinformatics courses at Centennial College have been hired by: OICR, Ontario health network, Ontario hospitals and the provincial government.

To attend Centennial College’s bioinformatics courses, applicants must have completed an advanced diploma or university degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering or related discipline. In addition, they must be prepared to offer proof of English proficiency, a transcript as well as a resume.

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