"Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology merge to form a single discipline. The ultimate goal of the field is to enable the discovery of new biological insights as well as to create a global perspective from which unifying principles in biology can be discerned."
National Center for Biotechnology Information
As the amount of biological information is increasing exponentially as a result of advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing technology, determination of protein structure, as well as genome-wide gene expression and genotype analysis using DNA chips, it is essential that appropriate data bases are in place to hold the information, accompanied by fast and reliable data processing and retrieval systems and automated data analysis pipelines. The development of bioinformatics is inseparable from advances in computer hardware, software and information technologies.

Skills in searching various biological data bases available on internet, retrieving information from these data bases and analyzing data using different software packages are essential for all biology students. In the fall semester 2009, Faculty of Biology offers a master's programme course "Introduction to Bioinformatics".

The following topics are covered by the course:

    Biology, statistics, information technologies and programming as the cornerstones of bioinformatics
    Biological information data bases. Searching and retrieving information
    Comparative genomics
    Evolutionary basis of nucleic acid and protein homology. Searching for homology. Multiple sequences alignments and their applications
    Phylogenetics. Cluster and cladistic approaches for reconstruction of phylogenetic trees
    Genome-wide gene expression analysis
    Using DNA microarrays for analysis of genome polymorphisms. Genetics of gene expression
    DNA topology and methods for prediction of DNA structure
    Protein structure, methods of prediction and use in pharmacology
    Proteomics and systems biology

Recommended reading:

    Text book - Lesk AM (2008) Introduction to Bioinformatics. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, New York, USA
    Hall BG (2004) Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy. A How-To Manual. 2nd ed. Sinauer, Sunderland, USA
    Johnson AL (2000) Elements of Programming with Perl. Manning, Greenwich, USA