FAQs

 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Computational Biology? Bioinformatics? Genome-scale Biology?
  2. Is there a Department of Bioinformatics or Department of Computional Biology at U of T?
  3. Who's doing computational biology or bioinformatics at U of T?
  4. Can I get a graduate degree in Bioinformatics or Computational Biology at U of T?
  5. Can I get a undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics or Computational Biology at U of T?
  6. Can I do a Master's in Bioinformatics at U of T?
  7. Which department should I choose for bioinformatics, computational biology, or genome-scale biology research?
  8. Do any departments offer part time degrees?
  9. Is there scholarship support for students doing bioinformatics, compuational biology, or genome-scale biology?
  10. What are the application deadlines?
  11. What kind of jobs are there for Computational Biologists? Bioinformaticists? Genome-scale Biologists?
  12. Are postdoctoral fellowship opportunities available in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics or Genome-scale Biology at University of Toronto?
  13. Who's responsible for this site?

 Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers

  1. What is Computational Biology? Bioinformatics? Genome-scale Biology? Computational biology and bioinformatics are basically two different aspects of using computers to analyze large-scale biological data sets. They involve the development of novel computational approaches for analysis, storage, visualization and modeling of biological data. This includes development of new algorithms, databases, and visualization systems and application of data mining and machine learning techniques to solve biological problems in areas such as gene function characterization, genome analysis, protein structure, and computational medicine. Genome-scale biology refers to the use of high-throughput methods, such as genome sequencing, yeast two-hybrid screens, ChIP-seq, or TAP-tagging followed by MS-MS, to characterize biological systems. Computational methods are integral to interpreting the data generated by such studies.
     
  2. Is there a Department of Bioinformatics or Department of Computional Biology at U of T? No. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of such research, multiple departments in biology, computer science, engineering and medicine all participate. An overarching Collaborative Specialization in Genome Biology and Bioinformatics links multiple departments, such as Molecular Genetics and Cell & Systems Biology, and a Computational Biology Group exists in the Department of Computer Science. There is also a Computational Biology Track in the Department of Molecular Genetics Ph.D. program. Additional departments that are not yet part of these initiatives also have researchers who are doing computational biology or genome-scale biology research.
     
  3. Who's doing computational biology or bioinformatics at U of T? Check out the People tab on this website.
     
  4. Can I get a graduate degree in Bioinformatics or Computational Biology at U of T? Yes. The Collaborative Graduate Program in Genome Biology and Bioinformatics provides such a designation. Note that this is a collaborative program, and as such you must first enroll in a PhD program of one of the collaborating departments. Alternately, there is a Computational Biology Group within the context of a PhD in Computer Science, or a Computational Biology Track within the context of a PhD in Molecular Genetics. Masters degrees are also available in most departments. Check out the Students tab of this website for more information.
     
  5. Can I get a undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics or Computational Biology at U of T? Yes. There is an Undergraduate Specialist Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Check out the Students tabs of this website. There are 3rd and 4th year thesis projects (BCB330Y/BCB430Y) for students of this program.
     
  6. Can I do a Master's in Bioinformatics at U of T? Yes, but only with the various departments doing computational biology research and not with the The Collaborative Specialization in Genome Biology and Bioinformatics.  However, a professional M.Sc. in Bioinformatics is being planned for 2021.
     
  7. Which department should I choose for bioinformatics, computational biology, or genome-scale biology research? The main choice to make is between a more computational or a more biological degree. Computer science requires a computational or math background, while biology departments require a biological and a computational or math background. Computer science degrees require computer science research e.g. new algorithm development or new machine learning method and application. Biology degrees require biological research e.g. studying evolution, gene expression or genetic interactions. Biological departments typically focus more on research and only require a few courses, whereas the Department of Computer Science requires many courses and also a research project.
     
  8. Do any departments offer part time degrees? In general, biology departments require full time commitment. The Department of Computer Science allows part-time work at the discretion of the supervisor, however, this is rare.
     
  9. Is there scholarship support for students doing bioinformatics, computational biology, or genome-scale biology? Not specifically, however, there are many scholarships available for graduate students in general, such as from NSERC and CIHR. While not necessary, it is beneficial for students to apply for these as it makes them more attractive for most labs. For graduate students, the department that you apply through will provide you with guaranteed funding. This level depends on the department in question.
     
  10. What are the application deadlines? Because each department has its own admissions requirements and deadlines, you'll need to familiarize yourself with these. Applications to these departments typically go through the School of Graduate Studies, and involve a small fee. For undergraduate students who want to enroll in the Undergraduate Specialist in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, this is done using the ACORN PoST system, typically in the 2nd year of studies.
     
  11. What kind of jobs are there for Computational Biologists? Bioinformaticists? Genome-scale Biologists? Coming out of a graduate program at U of T with such skills is an excellent step towards a career in an academic, government or industry research lab. As the price of genome sequencing drops towards $1 per genome, individuals who can analyze and develop interfaces for exploring such huge data sets (3 billion base pairs of information!) will be in high demand. Our understanding of biology continues to increase dramatically, in part driven by the ability to generate data in a high-throughput way. The Jobs section of this site and the jobs board at www.bioinformatics.ca lists examples of the types of jobs that are available, many available at UofT and in Toronto.
     
  12. Are postdoctoral fellowship opportunities available in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics or Genome-scale Biology at University of Toronto? Yes! All University of Toronto labs welcome postdoctoral fellowship applicants. Check the jobs board and email labs directly that you are interested in to request information.
     
  13. Who's responsible for this site? Nicholas Provart and Asher Pasha maintain the site. Gary Bader and Nicholas Provart originally provided content based on a survey of the University of Toronto community in early 2008. Alex Dvornyak developed the original site based on Drupal's CMS. Publications are posted based on an automatic RSS feed from PubMed implemented by Gary Bader. Your name must be on the PubMed query and the journal must be indexed by PubMed for your publication to appear on the Publications tab (there's a Toronto location filter, too). The filtering of the RSS feed from PubMed is achieved using simple regular expressions. The TorBUG Calendar is maintained by Michelle Brazas. Nicholas Provart modified Qamar Munir's original header artwork in 2018.