Bioinformatics involves the development and application of computational methods with the aim of extracting information from biomolecular and genetic data to answer questions in biology, biotechnology and medicine. Bioinformaticists take advantage of rapidly expanding databases of genetic information, protein structures and biodiversity, in an attempt to understand how the molecular makeup of living things determines our structure and the way we function.

Areas of study

Specialised areas of research include protein structure prediction, molecular evolution, prediction of genetic function, drug design, forensics, immunology, and the analysis of genetic responses.

You can study Bioinformatics in the following programmes:

What you will learn

As a bioinformaticist you will develop a sound understanding of mathematics, statistics, computer science and biology because of the large amount of genetic information, and the particular nature of biomolecular data itself. As these disciplines have traditionally been taught separately, there is now a severe worldwide shortage of people with these combined skills, and demand is expected to grow strongly throughout the next several decades as the new technologies are being further developed.

Career opportunities

Most graduates find jobs in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in New Zealand and overseas. There is also considerable demand for bioinformaticists in academic and research institutions. This situation is not likely to change in the medium term: with the culmination of the Human Genome Project, scientists are predicting that analysis of the 3 billion bits of data will take several decades.

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