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Practical Innovation at BioCon 2003


Working Towards a Standardized Curriculum in Bioinformatics

Track: Birds of a Feather
Date: Monday, February 03
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Plaza

Moderated by: Erich Baker, Assistant Professor, Baylor University, and Dr. Jay Snoddy, Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

This informal meeting should bring together bioinformatics educators and researchers representing different areas of bioinformatics to discuss issues pertaining to bioinformatics education. One question to be discussed is what constitutes a core bioinformatics curriculum for undergraduates and first-year graduate classroom education. A related question to be considered is what are the core concepts and skills that a student in bioinformatics should have before graduation with a bachelors, masters, or Ph.D degree. The bioinformatics community at large could benefit from the exchange of ideas and innovative approaches for new integrated education and research agendas.

In order to meet the escalating need for individual trained in bioinformatics, students taught the intellectual underpinning and practical skills of a number of very different areas are needed. Within biology, these areas include aspects of molecular biology, population genetics, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, and biostatistics, among others. Areas outside the usual biological curriculum include exposure to computer science, software engineering, statistics, complexity research, mathematics, and other areas of computation and information technology.

Many institutions are hiring a few bioinformatics researchers and educators; however, the individuals at a single institution who are charged with developing a bioinformatics curriculum may not represent all the different threads that are needed in core bioinformatics education. A discussion across institutions and disciplines might be very valuable in sharing knowledge and learning from other experiences. Input from the bioinformatics industry or other researchers on expectations from recent bioinformatics graduates would also be valuable. An additional item for consideration would be whether or not additional meetings or workshops on bioinformatics education might be useful.

Attendees will be encouraged to use a dedicated web site (www.ccbioinfo.org) to deposit sample curriculums and add further comment. In this way, the community can begin to establish an organized forum to further the discussion about the educational needs of next-generation students.

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