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Bioinformatics in the Biology Curriculum Gloria Rendon NCSA July 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Bioinformatics in the Biology Curriculum Gloria Rendon NCSA July 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bioinformatics in the Biology Curriculum Gloria Rendon NCSA July 2008

2 In this installment Bioinformatics A soft landing into the classroom: phylogenetics Beyond phylogenetics –Case study on genetic diseases with sickle cell anemia –Case study a la ‘crime scene investigation’ –Case study with a channel-toxin complex Using authoring environment to build interactive, web-based lessons

3 Biology in the 21 st Century “Biology has become information” –Eric Lander. “... from hypothesis-driven to data-driven science... biologists have come to appreciate a different and equally powerful way of promoting the progress of science by generating a large body of data and then using it to construct hypotheses to be tested by the tried-and-true method. ” –Shirley Tilghman. President of Princenton University. The Watson Lecture: Biology in the Era of Complete Genomes. April 14, 2003

4 Bioinformatics A key goal for Bioinformatics is to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret the data of molecular biology to advance our understanding of all biological phenomena. In order to achieve this goal, a multidisciplinary scientific approach is necessary -- as depicted in this figure.

5 “The Central Dogma” --why Bioinformatics focuses on Genomes, Genes, DNA and Proteins. The “central dogma” tells us that all organisms –simple and complex- are made in the same way: in all organisms a DNA genome is transcribed into RNA messages that are then translated into proteins. Both proteins and DNA are long chains of polymers; each link is drawn from a small alphabet; 4-letters for the bases that are the building blocks of DNA and 20-letters for the amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. Individual genes and proteins may be thought of as words. The way in which those words are assembled into an interacting network of proteins and protein products is the story of life. The role of Bioinformatics in science is to decipher the code of life --the sequences of nucleic acids in DNA and amino acids in proteins-- so that we can understand the relationship between those sequences and all life processes.

6 Bioinformatics – mining information (bioinformatics) tools are necessary to mine information out of the sequences of genes or of peptides.

7 Bioinformatics – Areas of application In addition to basic biological science, Bioinformatics is importantly applied to areas as varied as medicine, agriculture, environmental science, biotechnology, and crime investigation: Gene Therapy and Genetic Fingerprinting Study the relation between genes and disease. Genes will be drugs used for medical therapies to treat genetics diseases. Genomics Understand the relationship between form, function and evolution of genomes as well as the relationships among species Microbial Forensics Help in solving cases such as bioterrorism attacks, medical negligence and outbreaks of food borne diseases

8 Bioinformatics in the classroom Source: The BIO 2010 Report on ‘Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists’ by the National Academies Press (2003) From the recommendations on IMPLEMENTATION provided in the nine-page summary of the report, it follows (among other things) that: It is more pragmatic to INSERT modules in the Biology curriculum which introduce concepts, examples, and techniques from mathematics, and the physical and information sciences; than it is to redesign the entire Biology curriculum. Successful interdisciplinary teaching of Biology will require new materials and new approaches as well as better-fitted mechanisms of assessment to verify that progress is being made towards the institutional goal of student learning.

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