Bioinformatics is the interdisciplinary meeting point for computer science and molecular biology. It requires understanding of the knowledge domains of biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and probability and statistics

There has been an exponential growth in molecular biological knowledge in recent years, thanks to genome sequencing projects and technologies for determining gene expression and protein structures. The tremendous volume and complexity of data has necessitated the development of specialized computational techniques for storing, visualizing, and analyzing them. Certain techniques also require computational techniques in the derivation of data. Such techniques all fall into the realm of bioinformatics. 

Bioinformatics focusses on the role of DNA and its associated biomolecules in encoding and regulating cellular processes which eventually manifest as heritable traits. Bioinformatics uses sophisticated computing techniques to model genetic behavior. Because the processes encoded in DNA are fundamentally information processes, bioinformatics also convers aspects of biological processes as computing mechanisms.

One major or ultimate goal of bioinformatics is to accurately predict organism-level characteristics from genomic information. This will require the characterization of very complex systems, from atomic to cellular and organism levels.

Degrees in bioinformatics train students to work in industry. Students in bioinformatics can find opportunities in most life sciences fields such as medicine or agriculture.


Legacy Program

Prior to the 2022-2023 academic year, the Bioinformatics program was a B.Sc. degree. Starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, it has been moved as a concentration under the Applied Computing program. The resources for the B.Sc. in Bioinformatics degree can be found here.

Administrative Committee

  • L. Jin (Computer Science)
  • Y. Luo (Biochemistry)
  • I. McQuillan (Computer Science)
  • D. Konkin (External)
  • C. Todd (Biology)
  • S. Ritchie (Industry)
  • J. Liu (Mathematics & Statistics)
  • E. Quinlan (Dean's Representative).

For more information, contact Dr. Ian McQuillan.