Progress in the life sciences increasingly relies on the power of computation to answer biological questions. New devices generate large amounts of measurements, which can only be analysed by computer.
The most well-known example is that of next-generation DNA sequencing, which makes it possible to read out the genomes of many organisms throughout the tree of life and has become a widely used tool in both fundamental and applied research in health, nutrition, biotechnology and the plant and animal sciences. Moreover, information on genes, proteins and metabolites, their interactions and their functions is often freely available on the Internet. Such information is indispensable to interpret the outcome of experiments and to come up with new hypotheses.
To fully make use of all this data and information, it is essential to learn about the most important available bioinformatics methods and databases. This minor offers a broad introductory course in the field of bioinformatics, followed by courses teaching elementary programming, data analysis and visualization. It concludes with a project in which students integrate the knowledge and skills acquired. The main focus is on practical applicability.
After successful completion of this minor, students are expected to be able to:
- describe and use the main databases and tools used in bioinformatics and genomics, and explain their applicability and shortcomings;
- produce rudimentary programs in Python and R;
- demonstrate practical skill in processing and analyzing biological data using command line tools and simple programs;
- describe the main approaches to analyse and visualize quantitative biological data, and to apply these in practice;
- generate hypotheses based on biological data and design and carry out the computational experiments to verify these.
This minor is interesting for students in life science programmes with a molecular component, i.e.
- Biology (BBI)
- Molecular Life Sciences (BML)
- Animal Sciences (BDW)
- Plant Sciences (BPW)
- Biotechnology (BBT)
- Biosystems Engineering (BAT)
- Food Technology (BLT)
- Nutrition and Health (BVG).
Students from outside WUR that follow a minor of 30EC can add “Programming in Python” (INF22306) or “Advanced Bioinformatics” (BIF30806), depending on prior knowledge.
First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)
Programme or thematic