Bioinformatics: Decoding the Genome

Curriculum Focus

This subject explores how we use technology to understand genetic codes. The sequence for an individual or species can now be generated quickly and cheaply, resulting in an explosion of information.  Students will develop skills to decipher this information and further understand the code for life.

Throughout the semester, students will explore:

Genetics in history, placing Bioinformatics in context within a broader field;

The structure and function of the cell, DNA and proteins;

The biological and social aspect of genetic disorders;

The development of genetic technology.

 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit, students will have learnt about various aspects of bioinformatics. More specifically, students will gain a basic understanding of each of the techniques involved in producing and analysing a genetic sequence. Furthermore, students will learn the potential for bioinformatics to facilitate the development of new drug designs and therapies. Students will gain practical experience in state of the art laboratory techniques, learn more about the scientific method, and work with others to develop skills for effective communication and teamwork. This subject has good support from many Monash staff and external scientists, which means that students have access to many guest visitors, as well as visits to Monash University and beyond.

Assessment

A key skill for scientists is effective communication. To promote this, students will be required to present their findings, as well as write reports on guest speakers and research topics. Assessment will also include practical reports, research presentations, topic tests and an examination.

There will be two major research projects during the semester. The first project is a research task where students choose a genetic-based topic of their interest, culminating in a presentation to their peers. For the second project, students will explore a specific genetic technology and present their findings at an exhibition evening. In addition to producing a professional final submission, both projects place a strong emphasis on documenting and planning the research process.