SFU Genome Sciences program

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SFU Genome Sciences program

Post  dwu04 on Fri May 23, 2008 7:07 pm

I just heard that an undergraduate course plan has been recently submitted to the Dean of some department at SFU for approval for a Genome Sciences Undergraduate degree. The first of its kind in Canada, and in the world I believe....

I'm SO jealous. I wish I was 5 years younger so I could have taken advantage of such an opportunity. But then again, I'm biased (I'm pursuing a career in genomic medicine).

FYI for those of you just entering SFU or about to enter SFU, if you like math but don't want to do a math degree and you're intrigued by biological problems but aren't too crazy about poking cells all the time and killing mice, genomics may be the right choice for you. Science is changing rapidly with the advent of new technology and mass produced data, and there has been exponentially increasing interest in high-throughput, next-generation technologies and how these can be applied to modern science. Think the Human Genome Project...in 6 minutes. Very Happy

But this isn't exactly an undergraduate program yet (yay, politics!) I just thought I'd spread the word as a heads up.

dwu04

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Re: SFU Genome Sciences program

Post  CHo05 on Mon May 26, 2008 3:24 pm

I heard stories about that too... Apparently they're trying to make a network of professors to be involved in the genomics program, including some bioinformaticians, geneticists, and genomic specialists. I'm actually kinda jealous because these individuals usually have a fair amount of computer background as well, which was something I was interested in before finally settling on fully pursuing molecular biology. Who would've guessed that we could marry the two so neatly?

And yes, I did know there was a bioinformatics program I could've joined, but to be honest, I looked at the course requirements and felt that there wasn't enough exposure to core MBB for it to be too useful for me. But that's just my opinion. If an opportunity came up, I wouldn't mind working more closely in bioinformatics.

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Re: SFU Genome Sciences program

Post  dwu04 on Thu May 29, 2008 10:18 pm

Um, well, just to make this clear to those who are still thinking about what to do with their careers and are unsure about their major, the genomics program is NOT a bioinformatics program. SFU does already have an existing bioinformatics program, but this is different.

To make the distinction:
Genomics has to do with large scale high-throughput techniques, with a current large focus on array-based methods (sequencing, hybridization, immunoprecipitation, etc). It deals with methods to create such data, improvements on technology, and on the dealing/analysis of the large quantities of data.

Bioinformatics has to do with prediction of biological function using existing data (sequence, expression, annotation, etc.), usually using computational tools. Bioinformaticians typically use existing computational, mathematical, and statistical techniques and re-use them to analyze new data that is being (exponentially) produced.

Computational biology has to do with tackling the problems in bioinformatics with a computational focus on improving efficiency, finding heuristics, etc. This is often currently merged with "bioinformatics", but as a computational biologist you are really a computing scientist who simply applies their work to problems in biology.

So the bioinformatics program obviously does not have as many "biology" courses as MBB, but if it did it would not be a Joint degree, it would be a Double Major. The genomics program will have a similar give-and-take. If one is mainly interested in traditional Molecular Biology, one should opt for an MBB major and possible CS minor, rather than these specific programs. These programs are designed to focus and offer training in new fields that are rapidly growing.

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