- About the program
- Program rules
- Program courses
- Academic staff
The master's program in bioinformatics aims to prepare a professional technical staff capable of harnessing modern tools of informatics, artificial intelligence and deep learning, and capable of exploiting available software that is pertinent to beneficial vital data mining, whether this data is small or large, and being able to analyze and extrapolate vital data in order to benefit from it in medical diagnostic tests, treatment decision support for patients, designing and creating new drugs and developing methods of medical, engineering and agricultural scientific research, which depend on the use of advanced molecular technology.
Bioinformatics is a hybrid science of biology and biotechnology on the one hand, and computer and software science on the other hand. The bioinformatics program provides an important opportunity for interested students and graduates of Syrian universities to learn the methods of this modern science, which is rapidly developing in quantity and quality. It also provides a training opportunity to use these methods to extrapolate the vital data available on the Internet or generated in national research laboratories. In addition, it enhances the research skills of learners, especially in the field of Molecular studies which depend on analyzing the genetic material, detecting mutations, designing biological drugs, classifying all types of living organisms, and studying their evolution.
In the past two decades, the means of bioinformatics have evolved greatly to keep pace with the overwhelming explosion in the volume of vital data stored in the virtual cognitive space as a result of the rapid development of technologies generating that data. The best example of this is the publication of the human genome sequence- which is very rich in information about genes, mutations, polymorphisms, etc.- and what it entailed in terms of the urgent need to extrapolate molecular data and use it in developing diagnostic tools for diseases, a better understanding of their molecular mechanisms, designing modern drugs and analyzing vital images, which improved the methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The use of bioinformatics has expanded to develop new animal and plant hybrids and study their interactions with the surrounding environment.
On the other hand, the accumulation of Big Bio-data on the internet has allowed all those with bioinformatics skills to extrapolate that data even for countries where the generation of that data is at its minimum, as in Syria. As a result, there has been an urgent need to create a critical mass of bioinformaticians, and to create many job opportunities in this field globally and regionally, taking into account that this need is unprecedentedly on the rise due to the development of technology which dramatically shortens the time of analysis and data generation. For instance, sequencing a single sample of the human genome used to take 13 years and cost $ 3 billion, whereas today a similar sample can be sequenced within three days and at a cost of only about a thousand dollars. All of this will inevitably lead to the fact that the most important obstacle in the development of medical and biological sciences is not technology. Rather, the limiting factor lies in the number of the qualified and trained in the field of bioinformatics who will extrapolate this data and link it with the diagnostic and treatment decisions. In particular, the methods and applications go beyond studying the structure of the DNA itself to analyzing the gene expression of genotypes and studying RNA molecules, proteins, and other data that can be digitally transformed and processed.
Taking into consideration the before-mentioned, the importance of the qualification and specialization program in bioinformatics emerges locally from graduating competent trainees in this field, especially that this program does not exist in any of the Syrian government or private universities. Thus, the current program is a foundation for this science and its applications in the Syrian Arab Republic. The program also makes training of the necessary teaching staff possible in order to spread the culture of this science in public and private universities, in a way that meets the needs of the health sector in hospital laboratories, private laboratories and research laboratories of Syrian academic and research institutions alike, and meets the needs of the Syrian society.
Finally, virtual education represents an appropriate incubator environment and an excellent opportunity to practice using pertinent software, whether available for free on the Internet, or allocated later to students of the program through the Virtual University.
A- Knowledge & Understanding:
The program addresses a number of principles, foundations and modern terminology that form a firm basis for a Bioinformatics program graduate who, upon completion of the program, will be familiar with the following:
1- Understanding the principles of molecular cell biology and the basics of genetics.
2- Understanding the principles of bioinformatics and the cognitive, professional and research fields in bioinformatics.
3- Having knowledge of the principles of algorithms used in building data mining, analysis and classification software.
4- Understanding the different applications of informatics and statistics.
5- Understanding the management, storage and handling of vital data.
6- Understanding the principles of artificial intelligence and advanced technology used in generating digital vital data.
7- Having a knowledge of some specialized fields in technology and bioinformatics.
8- Understanding the interactions between biomolecules from a panoramic perspective and the basis of software that makes this analysis possible.
9- Being familiar with one of the most common programming languages used in bioinformatics.
10- Having a knowledge of the principles and research methods in bioinformatics and computational biology.
11- Understanding the molecular structures of genetic material and proteins, and methods of their analysis and synthesis.
B- Intellectual Abilities:
Upon completion of the bioinformatics program the graduate will be able to:
1- apply cognitive skills in the mining, analysis and extrapolation of vital data,
2- rationally use vital software and adapt it to suit research and analytical purposes,
3- extrapolate vital data and distinguish patterns inferred from it,
4- explore the impact of environmental changes surrounding the cell on molecular changes through informational means,
5- apply artificial intelligence and machine learning methods to analyze biomolecular data,
6- apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills,
7- practice self-learning skills,
8- design an integrated research proposal.
C- Practical Skills:
Upon completion of the bioinformatics program, the graduate will be able to:
1. have experience in dealing with bioinformatics,
2. use the necessary tools to evaluate bioinformatics-related research and literature,
3. present, store and deal with digital vital data,
4. offer suitable information solutions that are applicable to vital and analytical issues,
5. collect, analyze and critique the findings of bioinformatics analyses to form an integrated picture of the resulting information,
6. read charts and choose the most appropriate graphical representation for a set of data,
7. solve some digital computer problems,
8. plan and implement a report on a small research project,
9. choose appropriate statistical methods (parametric and nonparametric) to test statistically significant differences.
D- General Transferable Skills:
The student is expected to have some knowledge, skills and values, including:
1. The ability to perfectly use the computer and effectively communicate via the network.
2. The ability to present results and discuss them in an oral and written way.
3. The ability to use the computer in an effective and useful way.
4. The ability to work within a team.
5. The ability to work independently and effectively on the research project.
6. Learning the ethics and standards of scientific research and realizing the importance of institutional boards / committees for review.