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ISCB Calls for Member Input on Bioinformatics Curriculum

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The International Society for Computational Biology is asking its members to weigh in on a draft consensus curriculum for bioinformatics education.

In particular, members of ISCB's education committee are looking for ideas to increase the visibility of their efforts and involve a broader cross section of the computational biology community. The group is also seeking input on the draft curriculum and suggestions for refining it.

The recommendations included in the draft — which is available here — are based on responses to a survey of ISCB members conducted last spring.

Topics included in the draft curriculum had at least 10 votes among the 41 respondents to the survey. These topics fit into two broad areas: computation, mathematics, and statistics; and biology and chemistry.

Topics included under computation, mathematics, and statistics include: programming/scripting/software engineering, which had 36 votes; statistics/probability with 31 votes; databases with 24 votes; algorithm design/data structures/computation theory with 20 votes; and machine learning, which had 13 votes.

Topics under biology and chemistry include: cellular and molecular biology with 21 votes; genomics with 12 votes; basic biology with 11 votes; and evolutionary biology and genetics with 10 votes each.

In order to refine these guidelines, the committee has established three subcommittees that are responsible for summarizing curricula from existing bioinformatics programs; surveying directors of bioinformatics core facilities and biological researchers to identify the skills needed for people they hire; and reviewing bioinformatics career opportunities, the manuscript states.

Members interested in participating in ISCB's curriculum development efforts are encouraged to contact the chairs of the education committee and specify which of the three subcommittees they would like to participate in.

Comments on the curriculum blog are also welcome, ISCB said.

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