Learn how to translate the “big data” generated in biological and health research into knowledge that improves human health.

Major Roadmap

Major Roadmap

Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future. 

Bioinformatics Major Guide

As a Bioinformatics major, you’ll take courses in computer science, computational biology, mathematics, statistics and chemistry. Dive into research and project-based coursework alongside your professors, and present professional-level research as an undergraduate.

Take advantage of the Wild Basin Creative Research Center, an Austin nature preserve managed by St. Edward’s, where Bioinformatics students have conducted research on — for example — the fungal microbiomes of native plants. And connect with Austin’s growing biotechnology industry, where companies are using bioinformatics to develop solutions to problems in agriculture as well as genetic testing and personalized medicine.

What do our graduates do?

Bioinformatics majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample of what our recent graduates are doing.

  • Working at CDK Global and Dell EMC
  • Completing a Computer Science graduate program at the University of California Davis as the Integrated Computational Entomology fellowship recipient
  • Completing the Bioinformatics master’s program at St. Louis University Bioinformatics, as the recipient of the National Science Foundation BITWISE Scholarship
  • Graduate students at Boston University, Saint Louis University, the University of Central Florida and The University of Texas at Dallas

The Thrill of Discovery

The Thrill of Discovery

Undergraduate research at St. Edward’s connects students with professional mentors, encourages them to take on new challenges and helps some find careers they never imagined. Read about five students, including a Bioinformatics major, whose research is finding answers.  

The Classroom and Beyond

As a Bioinformatics major, you’ll have many opportunities to develop your lab and computer science skills in your classes and through research on campus, at Wild Basin Creative Research Center, and at labs across the country. You can also take advantage of internships in Austin, a nexus for biomedical research and the tech industry.

Experiential Education 

Your lab for Genomics is part of the Genomics Education Partnership, a nationwide collaboration of more than 100 universities that trains undergraduates in research methods. As part of their coursework, students annotate the genome of a fruit fly. The work of students in this course has twice been published in a scientific journal. 

Bioinformatics is a project-based course in which students apply their programming skills (Python) to a variety of biological problem sets. In this class you’ll develop code to solve biologics questions. 

Bioinformatics majors also take several semesters of research. 

Research

As a student at St. Edward’s, you’ll have ample opportunities to conduct research at St. Edward’s and in other university labs across the country.

At St. Edward’s, students have worked with a professor to characterize the fungal microbiome of the roots of native Texas plants at Wild Basin Creative Research Center. Students worked on the entire process: collecting samples at the nature preserve, preparing the DNA in the lab, sending them off for sequencing and analyzing the data. 

Students also work on research independently. One student worked over the summer to study the fungal microbiome of bean plants, testing a link between plant genotype and phosphate stress resistance. Her work, which took place in the St. Edward’s greenhouse, was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant. 

Bioinformatics majors have presented their research and won awards at regional and national scientific meetings, including the following:

  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
  • Texas Academy of Sciences
  • Association for Biomolecular Resource Facilities

Bioinformatics majors have a strong track record of being selected for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, competitive summer research intensives at top labs around the country. The 10-week programs are designed to help students decide if they want to pursue a career in research. St. Edward’s students have been selected for the following REUs:

  • Studying the influenza virus through the Bioinformatics Research and Interdisciplinary Training Experience REU at Boston University
  • Writing computer programs to analyze plant DNA in a horticulture REU at Michigan State University
  • Bioinformatics majors have also been selected for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunity Program fellowship, which places students in labs across the country. A St. Edward’s student recently was placed in a protein interaction lab at the University of Washington, where she studied a protein called TrkA, which has implications in cancer and pain sensitivity.
  • Another student was chosen for the Opportunities in Genomics Research Undergraduate Scholars program at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Internships

As a Bioinformatics major, you can supplement your research experience with an internship. Students have recently interned at the following organizations:

  • The J. Craig Venter Institute, which conducts genomic research to advance human health and environmental sustainability
  • Texas Advanced Computing Center

As a student in the Bioinformatics program you are afforded access to the funding programs, including paid internships, offered exclusively to STEM students at St. Edward’s University by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (i4). For more information on these programs please visit the Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (i4).

Teaching Assistantships 

Students with an affinity for teaching and mentorship can assist younger students by serving as teaching assistants. At St. Edward’s, all classes are taught by professors, but student teaching assistants help tutor and lead study sessions. You’ll expand your communication and people skills by helping other students learn the material.

Student Organizations

The St. Edward’s chapter of the Texas Academy of Science supports student research, including presentation and publication opportunities. Members also tutor in the sciences and complete other service projects.

You can apply to join the Natural Sciences Living Learning Community your freshman year. Members of the LLC live together in the same residence hall and take a fall-semester science course together. They also arrive on campus before school begins to learn research tools and methodologies so they can join research projects early in their college career. LLC members participate in regular community dinners and recreational activities to relax and have fun together.