|New Integrated Sciences Course on “Biological Aspects of Information” (ISCI 345)
With the recent surge of interest in genome projects and in understanding how genetic information is stored and transmitted in cells and organisms, Bioinformatics, also called Computational Biology, has asserted itself as a cutting edge research area. With this project, we want to develop an introductory course in bioinformatics covering the basics of how biological systems store and process information, and how such information is recovered and interpreted computationally. The course will provide an overview of basic questions in bioinformatics and of basic computational tools used to address these questions. The course is interdisciplinary in its very nature and would serve two purposes.
First, it would be a much needed addition to the collection of courses offered by the Integrated Sciences Program (ISP). The demand for Integrated Sciences core courses (JSCI courses) is increasing both within ISP (as the number of ISP students is increasing) and outside of ISP (as more Science students are interested in ISCI courses).
Second, it would be one of the main pillars of the new Combined Honours program between Computer Science and the Life Sciences. The proposed course has the virtue of being both integrative (in accordance with the UBC Vision as stated in "TREK 2000") and providing a rigorous introduction to one of the most important areas of research today, thus benefiting ISP students, bioinformatics students, and Science undergraduates at large.
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Michael Doebeli, Integrated Sciences Program, Faculty of Science