What is bioinformatics and which are those universities that provide higher studies in this discipline?
Bioinformatics is combination of biology, computer science and information technology.
Bioinformatics is becoming famous in information analysis and management in biology and biotechnology.
Computational modeling and analysis is now an integral part of biological discoveries. Bioinformatics combines the tools and techniques of mathematics, computer science and biology so that one should understand the biological significance of data.
Some of the main areas of bioinformatics are data-mining and analysis for genome projects, protein-structure prediction, systems biology and developing computer databases and algorithms for biological research. Those who have a basic knowledge of mathematics, chemistry and computer science and an aptitude for biology can specialise in bioinformatics. The aspirants should have an analytical mind and scientific aptitude.
Bioinformatics courses are available at the degree level (B.Sc., BE/B.Tech.), postgraduate level (M.Sc., ME/M.Tech.), M.Phil. and Ph.D. levels. You can choose either a BE/B.Tech. course in this discipline or a B.Sc. degree in bioinformatics after Plus Two. But degree courses in bioinformatics are rare.
For admission to M.Sc. (bioinformatics), graduates in science and biosciences are also eligible to apply besides graduates in bioinformatics.
For admission to M.Tech. course in bioinformatics, meritorious BE/B.Tech. holders in computer science and engineering, electronics, electrical engineering with a valid GATE score are eligible to apply.
Therefore, after Plus Two with physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, one can opt for BE/B.Tech. level professional degree programmes in computer science and engineering, electronics, electrical engineering or biotechnology. For the postgraduate course students can opt for M.Tech. in bioinformatics.
The entry qualification for an M.Sc. degree course in bioinformatics is a degree in biochemistry, biophysics, zoology, biotechnology, microbiology, chemistry, computer science, computer applications, electronics, mathematics, physics and statistics.
This course is not being offered by any of the engineering colleges in Kerala. However, some deemed universities outside the State like the Sastra University, Thanjavur ( www.sastra.edu); Vinayaka Mission University, Kilpauk, Chennai ( www.vinayakamission.com); Bharat University, Selaiyur, Chennai ( www.bharatuniv.ac.in); Karunya University, Coimbatore ( www.karunya.edu); Vel Tech University, Avadi, Chennai ( www.vel-tech.org); SRM University, Kattamkulathur ( www.srmuniv.ac.in) offer B.Tech./ BE courses in bioinformatics.
Aspirants must ensure that these institutions/deemed universities have AICTE approval and have good study facilities and placement assistance before seeking admission. Selection will be on the basis of an entrance test and interview.
Information on institutions, colleges or universities that offer B.Sc. degree in bioinformatics courses can be had from the University Handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which will be available for reference in the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux functioning under the universities in Kerala.
In Kerala, the Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies, Thiruvalla-689101, affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, offers M.Sc. degree in bioinformatics. The entry qualification is a degree in biochemistry, zoology, biotechnology, chemistry, microbiology, computer science, physics and mathematics with at least 55 per cent marks in aggregate. Final year degree students can also apply. Selection will be based on general merit in the subject of specialisation, marks scored in the entrance test and interview. Website: www.macfast.ac.in
Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam ( www.macollege.org) affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University offers a two-year M.Sc. degree course in bioinformatics on a self-financing basis. Meritorious science graduates can apply. The selection is based on merit in the qualifying exam, entrance test and interview.
The Department of Botany of Union Christian College, Aluva ( www.uccollege.edu.in) offers a M.Sc. degree course bioinformatics on a self-financing basis. This course is affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. Meritorious science graduates are eligible for admission. There are 20 seats. The syllabus covers general chemistry, fundamentals of genetics, introduction to bioinformatics and biocomputing, enzymology, general microbiology, bioinformatics software and programming, metabolism and bioenergetics, systematic bacteriology and virology, molecular genetics, biological databases and their management, immunology, genetic engineering, computational biology, molecular molding and computer-aided drug design and practical classes.
Under the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D. level courses are available in bioinformatics. Under the University of Calicut, the SAFI Institute of Advanced studies, Vazhuyur, Malappuram conducts M.Sc. course in this discipline.
Candidates having a B.Sc. degree with 55 per cent marks in bioinformatics, biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology, botany, zoology, medical laboratory technology, chemistry, life sciences life sciences, agriculture or B.V.Sc. & AH, B.Pharm. can apply. There are 12 seats. Selection is based on an entrance test conducted by the university ( www.universityofcalicut.info). The Sree Narayana Guru Institute of Science and Technology, North Paravur, offers M.Sc. degree in bioinformatics. The Amrita School of Applied Sciences under the Amrita Vishwavidyapeetham, Kollam, offers M.Sc. degree in bioinformatics.
The following universities and colleges offer M.Sc. degree in bioinformatics:
Bharathiar University, Coimbatore- 641046 ( www.b-u.ac.in)
Pondicherry University, Puducheery ( www.pondiuniv.org)
Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli – 620024.
University of Pune, Pune ( www.univpune.ernet.in)
CMS College of Science and Commerce (affiliated to Bharathiar University), Coimbatore- 641006.
The following institutions conduct postgraduate diploma programmes in bioinformatics for meritorious science graduates and postgraduates:
The Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore –560 066 ( www.ibab.ac.in)
Pondicherry University, Puducherry ( www.pondiuniv.org)- offers advanced PG diploma in bioinformatics.
Bioinformatics Centre, School of Biotechnology, under Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai ( www.mkuniversity.org) offers advanced PG diploma in bioinformatics. M.Sc. degree holders in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biotechnology, botany and zoology are eligible to apply.
The School of Distance Education of Bharathiar University offers two-year M.Sc. degree and one-year PG diploma courses in bioinformatics through the distance education mode. Graduates in life sciences, chemical or physical sciences can apply. The Directorate of Distance Education of Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar – 608002 offers a M.Sc. course in bioinformatics through the distance education mode.