The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics engages you in an interdisciplinary field that enables students to make sense out of the wave of ‘big data’ that is key to personalized medicine and many areas of biological science.
This is a research-intensive program that gives you the skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to make meaningful contributions early on. Throughout the program, students will engage in research-based courses as well as a student-faculty research group. The goal of these focused learning groups is for students to produce and present independent professional-level work. Disciplines are approached and examined from a perspective that illuminates biological processes at a systems-level. Computer science techniques such as pattern matching, machine learning algorithms, microarray statistical analysis and next-generation gene sequence data are also explored.
Major Requirements: The BS in Bioinformatics requires 83 hours of major courses, which include a combination of computer science, computational biology, mathematics/statistics and chemistry.
Electives: Students complete an additional 12 hours of elective courses from the sciences.
General Education Requirements: 57 hours of general education courses are required over the course of four years in addition to major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the Bioinformatics major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
I teach based on my understanding of how we all learn new information through the context of compelling questions and a need-to-know basis. I find that this approach builds my students’ interest, motivation and ability to learn new material from numerous sources. It also facilitates my students’ transitions into successful professional careers as well as continuing studies in graduate school.
– Charles Hauser, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics
Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:
Students majoring in Bioinformatics can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through research and interactions with the greater Austin community.
Jacquelyn Turcinovic ‘18 and Dr. Charles Hauser investigated the composition of fungal communities associated with root microbiomes of eight native plants within Wild Basin Creative Research Center (Schizachyrium scoparium, Arbutus xalapensis, Muhlenbergia reverchonii, Nolina lindheimeriana, Prosopis glandulosa, Yucca rupicola, Juniperus ashei, and Carex planostachys). The results to date indicate endosphere fractions of five of the eight plants appear enriched for Ascomycota; this enrichment was not restricted to monocots or eudicots. The fungi identified within the root (endosphere) is clearly distinguishable from fungi found outside the root (rhizosphere), thus potentially identifying “within-plant” from “outside-plant” fungal populations.  While these results are preliminary, they do support the hypothesis that plants are recruiting particular fungal systems to their root systems, ostensibly to facilitate plant uptake of critical nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, promote plant growth, and both mediate protection from and sensitivity to pathogens.
Caley Thomasson ‘18 and Dr. Charles Hauser working with scientists at the Knipling Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville Tx, are employing a bioinformatic approach to identify potential vaccine targets against the southern cattle tick from a variety of assembled Rhipicephalus microplus sequences. Potential tick peptides were predicted and compared to human, fruit fly and cattle proteomes to identify proteins unique to ticks. These proteins would serve as possible targets in the development of a vaccine to combat the re-emergence of the Rhipicephalus microplus in the United States cattle industry.
Chelsey Wildenborg ’17 worked on a project investigating potential cell-toxicity due to a nanoparticle exposure using the unicellular green alga model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Chelsey trained a machine learning algorithm (MLSeq) using RNASeq data from control and treated cells and using a random forest method was able to successfully classify unknown samples.
Texas Academy of Sciences
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
Students have been successful in competing for prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) opportunities that immerse students in ongoing research projects. Our students have recently carried out research at:
The Bioinformatics Curriculum is centered on project-based learning, examples include:
Professionals with a background in bioinformatics are in high demand in both academia and the private industry. Graduates of the Bioinformatics program are prepared for careers in the field of genomics — in projects such as the Human Genome Project — as well as related fields.
Our graduates have entered the field in a wide range of roles. Here's what they are doing:
Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.