Bioinformatics in the University of Haifa
A new discipline has matured in the last decade that applies information technologies and computational analysis to biological data. Bioinformatics has becoming a vital part of modern research in most fields of biological and medical sciences. Biological data, especially genomic sequences, are accumulating at an exponential rate because of impressive developments in Biotechnology. Between 2008 and 2013 a series of innovations in DNA sequencing technologies increased 10,000 folds our ability to sequence whole genomes of any living organism. This trend is continuing since, and in recent years novel sequencing technologies (“3rd generation”) are providing new capabilities such as single-molecule sequencing and single-cell sequencing. Therefore, the growth of public biological databases poses challenges for data analysis in both academia and industry. These challenges led to theoretical and algorithmic developments and numerous computational analysis methods, software tools and databases for addressing various research questions from gene annotation and functional prediction, through gene expression analysis and regulatory networks, to identifying all proteins in a tissue or a whole organism. Another field that challenges computational analysis is the study of three dimensional structures of proteins and the functioning of biological macromolecules. These are nanometric machines made of many thousands of atoms, which carry out complex biochemical processes such as cellular communication, catalytic activities, mechanical and electrophysiological functions, and more. Bio-physical analysis of protein functions requires the development of physical models and efficient algorithms – an achievement worthy of the Nobel Prize in chemistry that was awarded to three researchers in the field in 2013. Bioinformatics bridges between exact sciences such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, and life and natural sciences, and influences both disciplines substantially.
Masters program in biology (M.Sc) with specialization in bioinformatics
These developments created the need for bioinformatics training for the next generation of life science and medical researchers. Therefore, the University of Haifa offers M.Sc programs in biology with emphasis in bioinformatics. Students may enroll in any of the four biological departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and in the bioinformatics program (see “Admission” tab for details). The Faculty hosts leading scientists with a range of specialties in the field of bioinformatics, who teach courses in the program that cover all major topics in bioinformatic research (see “Courses” tab for details).