Bioinformatics is the application of technology that combines Biology with statistics and information technology to explore and understand the biological data. It makes it possible to have globally accessible databases that enable scientists to submit, search and analyse information. It offers analyses softwares for data studies and comparison. Besides provides tools for modelling, visualizing, exploring and interpreting data. The important objective is to convert multitude of complex data into useful information and knowledge.
Some research areas include: prediction of protein structures, drug discovery and design of new drugs, alignment of gene and protein sequences, regulation of gene expressions and pathways, interactions of biomolecules including proteins, association of genes with different diseases, drug design utilising 3-D structure modelling and computational chemistry (Cheminformatics) etc. Bioinformatics is applicable in several areas of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals, Medicine and Agriculture.
Scope and Career opportunities
Current biological and medical labs, for instance, are sequencing human genomes. Thus modern biological and medical research cannot be done without Bioinformatics. Research work in the area of genetic diseases and medical genomics is rapidly increasing and the future of personalized medicine depends on bioinformatics approaches. Some other approaches are designing and manipulating complex databases, Creating web-based analytical tools and algorithms and Developing new software for projects. They can work as a Bioinformatics Scientist or a Bioinformatics Software Developer in several companies.
A core biologist may not be familiar with the statistical and algorithmic knowledge required in this field. A software/computer professional may also not be well acquainted with the knowledge of biology and chemistry required to properly interpret, analyse and manage the data. Therefore the designed Bioinformatics program strives for a combination of these disciplines providing students with a solid foundation in the biological and computer sciences to prepare the graduate students for opportunities in Hard core Bioinformatics, Biology, Computer science as well as the fast-paced healthcare industry.
Many Indian companies are leading recruiters in the field of Bioinformatics e.g. Satyam, Wipro, TCS, Reliance, Silicon Genetics, Accelrys and IBM Life Sciences Pubgene, Tessella Ranbaxy, GVK Biosciences, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, CuraGen, Strand Life Sciences, Celera Genomics etc. On an average starting salary in India is approximately Rs. 6 Lacs to Rs. 10 Lacs per annum. In foreign countries, the salary is between Rs. 28 to 55 Lakhs. The highest levels of employment in 2015 were in California, Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland and Florida, the District of Columbia being the top-paying state with a mean salary of Rs. 78 Lakhs.
The first two years creates a very strong base in fundamentals of Computer Science and Engineering along with emphasis on Artificial Intelligence, which is needed for any Bioinformatics professional. 3rd and 4th year of curriculum provides a sequence of elective subjects exhaustively covering various areas such as Fundamentals of Life, Classical/Modern Physics for Life Sciences, Molecular Modelling in Genomics and Proteomics, Molecular BioScience and Biotechnology Tools, Basic and Applied Biotechnology, Computational Genomics, Advanced Applied Genomics, Advanced Biological Research, Ethics in Biology and Medicine etc.