What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a multifaceted discipline that builds upon:

  • Computer and information science – Bioinformatics relies heavily upon strategies to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyze, and visualize data.
  • Computational biology – Bioinformatics encompasses the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling, and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.
  • Life, health, and medical sciences – Bioinformatics supports medical informatics; gene mapping in pedigrees and population studies; functional-, structural-, and pharmaco-genomics; proteomics, and dozens of other evolving “-omics.”
  • Basic sciences – Bioinformatics depends on a strong foundation of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, biology, genetics, and molecular biology which allows interpretation of biological data in a meaningful context.

With mathematics and statistics at its core, bioinformatics applies these fields to make the diverse and complex life sciences data more understandable and useful, to uncover new biological insights, and to provide new perspectives to discern unifying principles. Bioinformaticians (or bioinformaticists) bring a multidisciplinary perspective to many of the critical problems facing the health-science profession today.

At UA Little Rock, we offer an M.S. and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics. We also support an undergraduate minor in bioinformatics.