This series is complete with stage 1 to 3 constructed in the rough layout listed below. Learn from assignments/quizzes, our interactive discussion board, and weekly webinars. By the end of this course series, you will have sufficient knowledge of bioinformatics and its application on a practical scale.
This two-week course serves as a preview for IvyOnline.Academy’s full Introduction to Bioinformatics course. As bioinformatics courses are not typically included in high school curriculum, a focus of this preview is teaching students what bioinformatics is and what its applications are. A case study will also be included that focuses on healthcare applications. In this case study, students will learn about different health conditions and decide on the best animal-derived therapeutics from a series of choices. By the end of this preview, students should have a surface-level understanding of some bioinformatics topics.
In the full course, the instructor will delve into more detail on these topics as well as several others. Note that students will work with a different bioinformatics database in the full course. Upon completing this course, students can opt into another 3 week course to complete stage 1 of this series.
By the end of the course, students can define bioinformatics, describe bioinformatics applications, and use the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) database to extract information on genes and proteins as well as compare gene or protein sequences.
Week 1: Introduction to Bioinformatics
Module 1.1 Molecular Biology Basics
Module 1.2 What is Bioinformatics?
Module 1.3 Examples of Bioinformatics Jobs and Applications
Week 2: Data Collection Technique
Module 2.1 Data Collection
Module 2.2 EMBL-EBI Database
Module 2.3 Diagnosing and Treating Patients! Written Case Study
Bioinformatics is commonly defined as computational molecular biology. In other words, bioinformatics makes use of technology to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and proteins. Before getting to the fundamentals of bioinformatics, this course will begin with a general overview of how genetic information is encoded and used by cells. The course will then transition to exploring some of the common databases used when performing biological research. Specific emphasis will be put on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database. Once students learn to use these databases, they will look at an application of bioinformatics. Students will learn what bioengineering is and how researchers can manipulate the genome of an organism in the laboratory.
By the end of the course, students can describe the general structures of DNA and RNA and the central dogma of molecular biology. The student will also be able to perform searches on NCBI and will be familiar with common analysis tools on NCBI. The student will understand what bioengineering is and the methods by which it is done in the laboratory.
Week 1- The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology
Module 1.1: DNA and RNA Basics
Module 1.2: DNA Replication
Module 1.3: Transcription
Module 1.4: Translation
Week 2- Introduction to Bioinformatics
Module 2.1: What is Bioinformatics?
Module 2.2: Genomics versus Transcriptomics versus Proteomics
Module 2.4: Sequencing
Module 2.5: Alignment
Week 3- Bioinformatics Databases
Module 3.1: Introduction to Bioinformatics Databases
Module 3.2: NCBI Entrez Search
Module 3.3: NCBI Protein Visualizer
Module 3.4: NCBI BLAST
Week 4- Bioengineering Applications
Module 4.1: What is Genetic Engineering?
Module 4.2: CRISPR-Cas9
Module 4.3: Genetic Engineering Applications
A virus is DNA or RNA enclosed in a protein coat. We can use online bioinformatics databases to analyze the sequence of a virus’s DNA, RNA, or protein coat. For this case study, students will use the NCBI database to analyze sequences of COVID-19, otherwise known as SARS-CoV-2. Students will also use the database to access information about additional sequences identified in the case study. Students will then determine how the
sequence of COVID-19 compares to the other specified sequences by using a bioinformatics tool called the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST). From this exercise, students will learn how bioinformatics databases can be used to help elucidate
key information about a virus. For example, we will be using bioinformatics to help provide us with clues on how a virus becomes more infectious.
To begin, students will be given a recorded video lecture and written notes on the fundamentals of viruses. Then, students will be given a worksheet with questions to guide
them through the case study. Students will be given a week to respond to these questions.
The objective of this stage is for students to develop a research proposal. Students will determine a gene of interest and propose a plan on how they would genetically engineer
cells to change gene expression for the potential treatment of a disease. In order to do so, students should consider enhancers and silencers as well as the annotations of different genes. Students will choose a method to genetically engineer cells in the laboratory. Students will describe their method and explain their choice. Students will be given documents to guide them through the project. Topics covered include suggested online resources and tips for good academic writing.
Students will be given three weeks to prepare a paper on their design. Office hours will be held during these weeks, allowing students to ask any questions that arise during paper preparation.
After submission, the instructor will provide additional feedback.
Natasha is a current Ph.D. student studying Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. In addition to her interest in chemical engineering, she has dabbled in biomolecular engineering and computer science. During her college experience, she was a researcher in a plant genomics and genetic engineering laboratory with a big component of her research involving bioinformatics. Her research interests currently lie in bioengineering and drug discovery/drug delivery. She can't wait to teach you the basics of bioinformatics! Her publication will be released soon!