What is Bioinformatics?
Bioinformatics involves the use of computers and mathematical/statistical models to process large amounts biological information, usually molecular or genetic data. It has been an active field for the last 15 years, and is driven by the rapid advances in molecular sequencing technologies, as well as new algorithms and statistical approaches.
The Human Genome Project, and more recently epigenetics, metagenomics, the ENCODE project, and the Human Microbiome project are probably the most well-known bioinformatics projects. However there are many other aspects to the field and it has diverse applications in biodiversity, medicine, agriculture and biotechnology.
University of Canterbury offers a number courses in the field of bioinformatics.
Careers in Bioinformatics.
There continues to be high demand for bioinformaticians with computer (programming) skills, and the ability to work with biology on analysing data.
Most bioinformatics practitioners work in biotechnology in New Zealand and overseas. There are also opportunities within academic and research institutions to do more fundamental scientific research. Careers in bioinformatics may involve diverse applications including: drug design, immunology and medical applications, forensics, and molecular evolution and population biology.