Computational biology, also known as bioinformatics, centers on the development and employment of theoretical and mathematical models for studying biological systems. Undergraduates interested in this field typically pursue computational biology as part of a major in biology, engineering or computer science. The best computational biology programs have high academic rankings, feature advanced research facilities and offer an array of computational biology courses over an interdisciplinary spectrum.
"U.S. News & World Report" chose Stanford as its top bioinformatics program in 2010, and Times Higher Education recognized this university as its fifth-best choice among all life sciences schools for 2013-14. Students who wish to pursue computer science can join research in the Computational Biology Group of Stanford's Computer Science Department, while those interested in genetics can utilize the resources of the Stanford Genome Technology Center through its own Computational Biology Group. Stanford even offers a pre-designed independent major in the subject, entitled Biomedical Computation, offered through the Department of Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT students can take an array of courses on genomics, biological algorithms and bioinformatics through MIT's Computational Biology Group. This group of professors works within the MIT Computational and Systems Biology initiative, promoting interdisciplinary cooperation and exchange among engineering, biology and computer science students and faculty. Members of this initiative have access to the Biophysical Instrumentation Facility, which contains advanced equipment. MIT received the number two spot on "U.S. News & World Report's" 2010 rankings of bioinformatics programs, and won recognition from Times Higher Education as the 2013-14 second-best school for life sciences.
Harvard University's bioinformatics program won the third-best ranking in "U.S. News & World Report's" 2010 study. Harvard University also received recognition from Times Higher Education as the world's best school for life sciences. The Computational Biology program in the Harvard School of Public Health is based in the Center for Health Bioinformatics, which provides a comprehensive student resource with its connections to the Department of Biostatistics and Program in Quantitative Genomics. Students also have access to the resources of Harvard's Center for Cancer Computational Biology, which offers a regular seminar series and advanced sequencing facilities.
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley's Center for Computational Biology offers a wide range of interdisciplinary courses for undergraduates, including a full foundational program in computational biology. These courses are offered through the Departments of Bioengineering, Biostatistics, Integrative Biology, and Molecular and Cell Biology. Students can also join the Computational Biology Group within the Department of Mathematics, which makes use of the Laboratory for Mathematical and Computational Biology. "U.S News & World Report" named UC-Berkeley as its fourth-best bioinformatics program for 2010, while Times Higher Education recognized Berkeley as its number six school worldwide for life sciences.
- International Society for Computational Biology: Mission, Vision & Values
- Times Higher Education: Top 100 Universities for Life Sciences Universities 2013-14
- Stanford Computer Science Department: Computational Biology Group
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT Computational Biology Group
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Computational and Systems Biology at MIT
- Harvard School of Public Health: Computational Biology
Douglas Matus is the travel writer for "West Fort Worth Lifestyle" magazine, and spent four years as the Director of Humanities for a college-prep school in Austin. Since 2005, he has published articles on education, travel and culture in such publications as "Nexus," "People's World" and "USA Today." Matus received an Education Pioneers fellowship in 2010 and an MFA from CalArts in 2011.