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Course content

What is the Master of Bioinformatics all about?

 Bioinformaticians are distinguished by their ability to formulate biologically relevant questions, design and implement the appropriate solution by managing and analysing high-throughput molecular biological and sequence data, and interpret the obtained results.

Structure

This interdisciplinary two-year programme focuses on acquiring

  • basic background knowledge in diverse disciplines belonging to the field of bioinformatics, including statistics, molecular biology and computer science
  • expert knowledge in the field of bioinformatics
  • programming skills
  • engineering skills

The 120-credit programme consists of a reorientation package (one semester), a common package (two semesters) and a thesis.

The Master of Bioinformatics is embedded in a strong bioinformatics research community in KU Leuven, who monthly meet at the Bioinformatics Interest Group. Bioinformatics research groups are spread over the Arenberg and Gasthuisberg campus and are located in the research departments of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M2S), Electrical Engineering (ESAT), Human Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology (REGA), Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Chemistry and Biology. Several of these bioinformatics research groups are also associated with the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB).

Is this the right programme for me? 

Are you a biochemist or molecular biologist with a keen interest in mathematics and programming? Are you a mathematician or statistician and want to apply your knowledge to complex biological questions? Do you want to develop new methods that can be used by doctors, biologists and biotechnology engineers? Then this is the right program for you!

Objectives

The student:

  • Possesses a broad knowledge of the principles of genetics, biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology that underlie the model systems, the experimental techniques, and the generation of data that are analysed and modelled in bioinformatics.
  • Possesses a broad knowledge of the basic mathematical disciplines (linear algebra, calculus, dynamical systems) that underlie mathematical and statistical modelling in bioinformatics.
  • Masters the concepts and techniques from information technology (database management, structured and object-oriented programming, semantic web technology) for the management and analysis of large amounts of complex and distributed biological and biomedical data.
  • Masters the concepts and techniques from machine learning and frequentist and Bayesian statistics that are used to analyse and model complex omics data.
  • Has acquired knowledge of the core methods of computational biology (such as sequence analysis, phylogenetic analysis, quantitative genetics, protein modelling, array analysis).
  • Has advanced interdisciplinary skills to communicate with experts in life sciences, applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science to formalise complex biological problems into appropriate data management and data analysis strategies.
  • Can - in collaboration with these experts - design complex omics experiments and analyse them independently.
  • Can independently collect and manage data from specialised literature and public databases and critically analyse and interpret this data to solve complex research questions, as well as develop tools to support these processes.
  • Investigates and understands interaction with other relevant science domains and integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
  • Demonstrates critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty; and can efficiently adapt to the rapid evolution the life sciences, and especially in omics techniques, by quickly learning or developing new analysis strategies and incorporating them into the learned competences.
  • Presents personal research, thoughts, ideas, and opinions of proposals within professional activities in a suitable way, both written and orally, to peers and to a general public.
  • Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
  • Understands ethical, social and scientific integrity issues and responsibilities and is able to analyse the local and global impact of bioinformatics and genomics on individuals, organisations and society.

Career paths

Bioinformaticians find careers in the life sciences domain in the broadest sense: industry, the academic world, health care, etc. The expanding need for bioinformatics in biological and medical research ensures a large variety of job opportunities in fundamental and applied research. 60% of our graduates start a PhD after graduation.

 


Visit the Bioinformatics MSc page on the KU Leuven website for more details!

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