Course Review: Bioinformatics

Research data is being generated extremely fast now and it is imperative that we, as researchers, have an idea of what to do with it and where to begin interpreting the results. Computer programs play a major role in this process and there are not many escape routes from them. If you are also terrified of computers like me, the bioinformatics course is the perfect chance to begin an amicable relationship with computer programs.

The Bioinformatics course (5.5 credits) lasted three weeks in the second semester of Master’s program in Biomedicine. The schedule was relaxed throughout the course. We had lectures in the morning followed by computer labs post lunch. The lectures gave us insight into the algorithms used to run different programs and the different ways of interpreting the results obtained. We were also expected to complete certain exercises that would provide us sufficient background information to complete the assignments during the labs.

This course is perfect if you just need to be able to pick the right program for the type of research query and be able to understand the results. Interpreting results from such programs could sometimes be daunting and there are also different types of results available. It is important for you to be able to assess if the result is true and we were able to do all this without difficulties or confusion by the end of the course.

The knowledge we obtain from the course is sufficient if bioinformatics is a small part of the research we conduct. We use the programs learnt for well defined data sets and the results are always experimentally verified. However, if you are expecting in depth knowledge regarding bioinformatics or to learn a new programming language, I would recommend you to do additional courses.

This course has definitely taken away the fear of computer programs from me and I am happy that I can now confidently analyse certain data sets that I would invariably encounter.




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