Looking for the hot new field of science that combines various expertise into one elegant discipline? Bioinformatics may just be the perfect fit.
According to BioSpace, careers in bioinformatics are hot and getting even hotter, thanks to the colossal amount of data being generated daily – and the need to expertly analyze and interpret that data.
“With a long history in the field of medicine, bioinformatics is now emerging in many areas that are closely connected to Canada’s bioeconomy, such as food production and management of natural resources,” says Dr. Athanasios Zovoilis, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and a member of the Southern Alberta Genome Sciences Centre, the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience and the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute at the University of Lethbridge. Dr. Zovoilis also co-designed the new Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics at uLethbridge.
“For example, today genomics helps us produce better and safer food with less environmental impact, boost forest productivity, mitigate climate change impact on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and monitor invasive species. This translates into a surge of job opportunities for bioinformaticians both in urban and rural regions across all Canada.”
In fact, that growth is so rapid, a recent report predicts the global bioinformatics industry will reach USD $21.8 billion in the next five years.
Dr. Zovoilis says that as bioinformatics methods and tools become more sophisticated and start intersecting with fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, bioinformatics positions are becoming even more diversified, with new specializations developing as the field broadens.
Never Boring or Repetitive
“People typically think bioinformaticians can do magic with just a stroke of the keyboard, but in contrast, we bioinformaticians are constant puzzle solvers. Bioinformatics requires complex processes, such as genome assembly, variant calling and RNA sequencing analysis. This means that bioinformatics can never be boring or repetitive,” Dr. Zovoilis says.
Where bioinformaticians can work is almost as varied as the work itself. In addition to positions in academia, an increasing number of positions are becoming available in government research centres, hospitals, clinical diagnostics laboratories and private industry.
“Nowadays, we see a large number of bioinformaticians conducting their research independently as professors, leading large teams in companies that are associated with drug development and clinical diagnostics testing, or even founding their own data companies.”
All good news for those considering the Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics.
For those with an undergraduate degree, the condensed and targeted certificate helps boost their CV in a short period of time, giving them the edge in a competitive job market where bioinformatics skills can set a candidate apart.
For those interested in more senior roles, such as scientists aiming for positions as university professors or in leadership and managerial positions, the program can pave the way for further study in bioinformatics.
“Unlike the plethora of online programs offering training in bioinformatics, this program offers not only content but also hands-on experience with real projects supervised by experts in the field. Focusing on the areas of medicine and agriculture, our students will gain domain expertise, which is highly valued by potential employers.”
Join our webinar November 5th to learn more!
Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics at a glance:
- Application deadline: December 1
- Intake: Spring semester
- Duration: Six-months
- Coursework (no thesis)
- Practicum included: No
- Supervisor required: No
- Delivery: In-person on the main (Lethbridge) campus