BIOL 4650:

Current Bioinformatics Techniques

Introduces students to fundamental bioinformatics principles and helps them decide if Bioinformatics is the right major for them.


Credits                      3.0

Prerequisites           BIOL 3650

Required Books   None. Readings will be taken from the current literature


This capstone course is intended to expose students to some of the unresolved issues in bioinformatics. Students will examine the current literature and come prepared each day having read at least one paper dealing with a topic for that day. Each student will lead a class discussion on the paper and algorithm presented in the paper. As a class, we will examine that paper, discuss the authors' research, and decide how we might use their research in our own labs. Then we will download the software and use it on test data sets. Students will be required to use at least one algorithm that we learn about in class on a novel dataset.

Students will be assessed on coming to each class prepared and engaged in the discussion. Each student will lead a class discussion and answer questions from the class about the algorithm that they chose to present. As small groups or individuals, students will write a research paper describing their implementation of one of the algorithms by either executing it on a novel data set or improving the algorithm and comparing its output on an available data set. Students will be assessed on the effort that they put into their research.

On a given day, we might assess the quality of a novel GPU alignment algorithm, such as BarraCUDA. Students would come prepared having read the paper and downloaded the algorithm. Students will prepare themselves by implementing BarraCUDA on a small test data set. If they are unable to implement the algorithm, they will come with questions which the leader assist them with during class.

Students will be assessed on the effort that they put into this class. If they come prepared each day instead of waiting for the discussion leader to give them the answers, they should do fine in the class.