Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field of science which combines Biology, Computer Science, Information Technology. Its objective is to provide information needed for the field of biological research, including genome projects. It is the discipline that stores, analyses and interprets the ‘big data’ generated by life science experiments, using computer science. Its components include data analysis, computational modeling systems, biology, and computer database development.
It’s an emerging scientific discipline & highly remunerative career options.With the use of information technology in the area of molecular biology, career prospect in Bioinformatics has been gradually increasing.
Bioinformatics finds application in different fields of biology, a few of which are listed below:
The study of genomics involves the analysis of genomes, identification of their structure, function, and evolution. With the aim of fully sequencing the human genome via Sanger sequencing, the Human Genome Project was started in 1990. Many fragments of DNA that was created with this had to be combined using biotechnology processes to create a final complete sequence.
Another major arena that benefits from bioinformatics is cancer research.
Personalized medicines can be developed, by identifying individual mutations involved in a disease. The genetic information obtained from genome sequencing can help to identify the specific gene on which the mutation has taken place based on which personalized treatments can be developed.
Bioinformatics is also used in the analysis of proteins. The structure and function of proteins can be characterized through various technologies allowing scientists to gain greater insight into their roles in the biological processes.
B.Sc., M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D., B. Tech and M. Tech courses are available in this project. B.Sc. and B.Tech. are 3 and 4 years courses respectively. Various colleges/Institutions offer many bachelor, master and doctoral courses in Bioinformatics. Some of the courses are given here.
Bachelor Degree Courses:
The duration of the Bachelor’s degree is 3 and 4 years
- Advanced Diploma in Bioinformatics
- B.Sc (Hons.) in Bioinformatics – 3 years
- B.Sc in Bioinformatics – 3 years
- B.Tech in Bioinformatics – 4 years
- BE in Bioinformatics – 4 years
- Certificate in Bioinformatics
Master Degree Courses:
M.Sc. Bioinformatics courses are open to graduates in the same subject as well as graduates with high marks in science and biology. For M.Tech. in Bioinformatics, BE / BTech degree in Bioinformatics / Biotechnology / Computer Science Engineering / Electronics / Electrical Engineering for the study of Bioinformatics etc. along with effective GATE score are required.
The duration of the Masters degree is 2 years
- M.Sc (Hons.) in Bioinformatics
- M.Sc in Bioinformatics
- M.Tech in Bioinformatics
- ME in Bioinformatics
- MS in Bioinformatics
- PG Diploma in Bioinformatics
The doctoral programmes, Ph.D in Bioinformatics, take about 3-5 years to complete.
Honours and general degree: The honours focuses on one major subject whereas the general degree follows a multidisciplinary approach. B.Tech and M.Tech are technical and professional degrees whereas B. Sc. and M. Sc. are the general basic science courses.
Apart from generic Bioinformatics courses, several Bioinformatics specializations are available. A particular branch or specialization in Bioinformatics program to be chosen as it provides better opportunities and equip them with better skills in a specific domain.
- Architecture & Content of Genomes
- Complex Systems Analysis/Genetic Circuits
- Data Mining
- Data Storage & Retrieval, Database Structures, Annotation
- Evolutionary Model Building & Phylogenetic Analysis
- Information content in DNA, RNA, protein sequence and structure
- Metabolic Computing
- Nucleic Acid & Protein Sequence Analysis
Major subjects covered:
Study of Bioinformatics includes range of subjects. Bachelor’s degree course includes the basics of Life sciences, Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer programming, Molecular Biology, Genetic engineering, Biochemical, Genomics, and Proteomics.
During bioinformatics courses, knowledge in the following areas may also get enhanced:
- Bioinformatics legal concerns.
- Cellular biology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics.
- Data mining and modeling.
- Statistical formulas and data collection.
Skills required to pursue a career in bioinformatics:
- Excellent problem solving skills
- Good knowledge in computer, software and technology
- Good Communication Skills
The eligibility criteria for the admission in various levels of degree and post graduates courses in the bioinformatics field are:
- Candidate to pass 10+2 with science subject a compulsory requirement. i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics for B.Sc.
- Candidate to qualify in the entrance examination for the B.Tech. Bioinformatics
- Bachelor degree in Physical, Biological, Agricultural, Veterinary, Fishery Sciences, Horticulture, Pharmacy, Engineering, Technology or Medicine (MBBS/ BAMS / BHMS) is required for those candidates who want to get admission in a master course.
Admission in Bachelor & Master Degree Courses are obtained through state & National level entrance exams such as:
- Bioinformatics National Certification Examination (BINC)
- CSIR/UGC NET exam
- Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering GATE
- Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research Entrance Exam (JNCASR)
- Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST)
- KEAM entrance examination
Bioinformatics National Certification (BINC) exam is to identify and certify bioinformatics professionals to improve their job placement opportunities. Top ten candidates also received the cash award. The successful post-graduate candidates are eligible for availing JRF/SRF for pursuing Ph.D. in Indian Institutions/Universities. This programme is equivalent to UGC-CSIR-NET, DBT-JRF and all other such programs.
CSIR NET is a national-level exam conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) to select candidates for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and for the appointment of lecturers in Indian universities and colleges fulfilling the eligibility criteria laid down by UGC. CSIR NET exam to be cleared to become lecturers in the subject areas falling under the faculty of Science & Technology only. Online applications are invited twice a year on all india basis for JRF/NET (Junior Research Fellow/National Eligibility Test)
Subjects for which CSIR NET include the following:
- Physical Sciences
- Mathematical Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences
- Chemical Sciences
GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) is the national level entrance examination for the admission into the Masters Programs, Master of Engineering (ME), Master of Technology (MTech) and direct PhD admission of various institutes. This examination primarily tests the comprehensive understanding of various undergraduate subjects in engineering and science.
Admissions to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other institutes/universities across India are based on the GATE. The exam is jointly conducted by IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee and Indian Institute for Science, Bangalore (IISC Bangalore), on a rotational basis on behalf of the National Coordination Board (NCB – GATE), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD), Government of India.
Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) is a screening test conducted to shortlist candidates for admission to MSc, Integrated PhD and PhD programmes in Physics, Theoretical Computer Science, Neuroscience and Computational Biology at public research institutes. Science and Engineering Research Board declared JEST as a National Eligibility Test.
Bioinformatics is an emerging scientific discipline & highly remunerative career options. The career prospect in Bioinformatics has been gradually increasing with the use of information technology in the area of molecular biology. Bioinformatics Degree holders can work in all sectors of pharmaceutical, biomedical organizations, biotechnology, in research institutions, hospitals, industry and even NGOs.
You can work in private & government hospitals and as a teacher in private and public colleges.
They can also be employed in scientific research institutes of the private & public sector.
Most of these professionals are working in pharmaceutical and Biotech companies.
Manufacturing industries of various biomedical products also provide employment options .
Those with a degree in Bioinformatics can be a part of the leading IT Companies as Bioinformationists.
Specific career areas which fall within the scope of this field are database design & maintenance, proteomics, pharmacology, sequence assembly & analysis, informatics developer, bioanalytics, clinical pharmacologist, etc.
Some of the specific job profiles are as follows:
- Bioinformatics Software Developer
- Computational Biologist
- Content Editor
- Database Programmer
- Network Administrator / Analyst
- Research Scientist / Associate
- Science Technician
Some of the major recruiters are:
- GVK Biosciences
- IBM Life Sciences
- Mahindra Satyam
- Silicon Genetics and Tessella
- Strand Life Sciences
- Tata Consultancy Services
- Torrent Pharmaceuticals
Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) are the most prestigious institutes. There are 23 IITs across India, with a total intake of over 11,000 for BTech undergraduate programs in various branches. IITs also offer postgraduate program (MTech) and Bachelor-Master dual degree (BTech + MTech in 5 years) and Doctoral degree (PhD).
National Institutes of Technology (NITs) is there one in most states. There are 31 NITs with a total intake of over 10,000 for BTech undergraduate programs. Most NITs offer MTech as well as Bachelor-Master dual degrees.
Top Institute of Bioinformatics Courses in India:
- India Institute of Technology, Delhi
- India Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- National Institute of Technology, Bhopal
- National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune
Some of the institutes offering Bioinformatics in the state of Kerala under Kerala, Calicut, Mahatma Gandhi and Kannur Universities:
- Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita University, Amritapuri (M.Sc. Bioinformatics).
- Mar Athanasius College for Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla.
- Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam – M.Sc.
- Mary’s College for Women, Valiyakkara, Thiruvalla – M.Sc.
- Union Christian College, Aluva – MSc
- Safi Institute of Advanced Studies, Vazhayoor – MSc
- MES College for Advanced Studies, Edathala, Aluva- B.Sc, M.Sc.
- Center for Bioinformatics, University of Kerala, Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram -M.P-hil.
International Institutes and Universities:
- Harvard University Boston, MA
- Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
- Princeton University Princeton, NJ
- Stanford University, CA
- University of California–San Francisco, CA
- University of California, Berkeley, CA
- University of Washington Seattle, WA
- Washington University, St. Louis, MO
- Yale University New Haven, CT