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Warren T. Jones, Ph.D., P.E.

Course Outline

"The future of the biomedical sciences will be driven by advances in bioinformatics and computational biology."

Dr. Marvin Cassman, National Institutes of Health

The new field of bioinformatics presents problem-solving opportunities for engineers who may be interested in moving to the domain of biology. It is possible to make significant contributions with initial limited biological knowledge, given a good match of engineering methodological expertise with specific biological problems. Bioinformatics is the application of computational techniques to the understanding and organization of information associated with the very large and increasing number of databases of DNA and protein data. The long term goal is the development of computer models that complement the traditional biological wet-lab laboratory experiments. The current aims of bioinformatics are (1) to provide web accessible databases for data that can be shared with a global community, (2) to develop tools and resources that support the analysis of these data and (3) the use of these tools to analyze and interpret the results produced by these tools. This course provides an introduction to some of the important topics in the field along with information on university education and training opportunities as well as the expected major reshaping of several sectors of the economy in the near future. Pointers to additional resources for further study are also provided.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this four-hour course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for all engineers.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (762 K) Bioinformatics. You need to open or download above documents to study this course.

You need to open or download these documents to study this course.


Module #1: Introduction
Module #2: Sequence Alignment
Module #3: Phylogenetics
Module #4: Bioinformatics Software Development Tools and Technologies
Module #5: The Life Science Revolution and University Education Opportunities
Module #6: Bioinformatics Databases and Software
Bioinformatics Resources
Bioinformatics Related Periodicals, Societies and Job Search Sites
Bioinformatics Conferences
Selected Books and Articles

Course Summary

This course presents a brief introduction to bioinformatics concepts and web-based data resources. An overview of some of the most popular bioinformatics software packages is also given along with a discussion of some of the programming languages and technologies used in the bioinformatics community. Some insights are given into the dramatic changes expected in the industrial landscape of the life sciences as well as some potential non-biological applications of DNA in nanotechnology and possibly general purpose digital storage using DNA. Finally, university educational opportunities in bioinformatics are presented.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.