|JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Missouri Southern State University now offers an undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics, a newly emerging interdisciplinary research area defined as the interface between biological and computer information sciences. This is the only bachelor's degree level Bioinformatics degree available in the state of Missouri.
Bioinformatics deals with the computational management of all kinds of biological information, whether about genes and their protein products, whole organisms or ecological systems. The degree would provide students with the foundation to enter a rapidly expanding field that combines both life sciences and computer sciences. The Governor and State Legislature in Missouri have placed an emphasis on attracting life sciences in Missouri.
This emphasis is in education, research and business. According to the Department of Economic Development, Missouri is home to more than 100 life sciences companies, ranking it among the top third of all U.S. states.
The major is an interdisciplinary degree option offered through the Departments of Biology and Computer Information Sciences (CIS) at Missouri Southern. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Biology and CIS. The first degrees could be awarded in fall 2004.
The degree requirements are designed to prepare the student for graduate school or entry-level positions in Bioinformatics and in the respective fields of biology or computer information science. Those working in the field possess expertise in using modern software tools to explore and analyze vast biological data. Much of this new data is a product of the Human Genome Project. With the advent of ever more extensive biologic databases, Bioinformatics has achieved a rapid-growth position in the biomedical marketplace.
"Our students with a Bioinformatics degree would position themselves to take full advantage of this emerging biotechnology field," says Dr. Scott Wells, Head of the Department of Biology at Missouri Southern. "Our goal is to provide both career opportunities for our students and to serve as a resource for the qualified employees that high tech businesses demand," he adds.
For further details on the degree, contact Dr. Wells at 417-625-9510 or Dr. Jack Oakes, Head of Computer Information Science Department, at (417) 625-9683.
For further information on Bioinformatics, click here.