Bioinformatics brings together the fields of life science, computer science and statistics. When biological information is captured on computer, it can be used to produce new computer systems (databases, software, networks, and even hardware) and solve problems in a wide variety of areas ranging from biology to medicine.
Bioinformaticians strive to understand medical and biological systems by the creative use of statistics and computer analysis. They may write computer programs to analyse data in a new way, they may apply existing analytical tools to new data sets, they may introduce novel statistical methods into the analysis of data and they may extend existing analytical capabilities to genome sized data sets.
The most recognised application of bioinformatics has been the mapping of the human genome sequence.
By studying bioinformatics at Sydney, you tap into a vast breadth of expertise in bioinformatics covering the disciplines of statistics, computer science, genetics, biochemistry, veterinary science, medicine and agriculture.
What will you study?
In first year, it is recommended that you complete units of study in biology, mathematics and information technology. In second and third year, you divide your time equally between the life sciences and the mathematical, statistical and computational sciences. In third year, you are highly recommended to enrol in BIOL3027/3927 (bioinformatics and genomics) and BCHM3092/3992 (proteomics and functional genomics). Plus you will complete the BINF3101 (bioinformatics project) unit that is designed specifically to give you an opportunity to do real research, supervised by scientists from the biomedical disciplines.
Bioinformatics graduates are in high demand. Career opportunities in bioinformatics will continue to expand on both the computer and biological science fronts. For computer science, there are opportunities in programming, database development, systems analysis and software engineering. In the biological sciences career opportunities exist for bioinformatics experts who assist biologists and medical researchers to interpret biological or medical data, design user interfaces, and run laboratory information management and analysis systems.
Opportunities also exist in research laboratories in universities, hospitals, and the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. The Master of Applied Science (Bioinformatics) is an additional avenue for students wishing to pursue a career in bioinformatics.