Ramapo College was one of the first primarily undergraduate colleges in the United States to offer a baccalaureate degree in Bioinformatics. The program prepares students for employment in industry and academia, and to engage in research. In addition to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, potential employers include research labs in academia, hospitals, governmental agencies, the software industry and the bioinformatics service industry. The bioinformatics program provides excellent preparation for graduate, medical and other professional schools.
Bioinformatics is a modern interdisciplinary science that uses computational techniques to frame and to resolve biological problems. Bioinformatics allows scientists to answer questions which require the interpretation of large datasets and to detect trends in data that emerge when a “bigger picture” is considered. This effective management of biological data allows scientists to create molecular models, discover genes and biomarkers, assign functions to newly discovered genes, and to study relationships like the structure and function of proteins and biomolecular pathways. Bioinformatics is practiced in the fields of molecular, personalized and preventative medicine, biotechnology and nanobiotechnology. Applying this powerful new technology can help to prevent, diagnose and treat inherited and other diseases, design new drugs and vaccines; shorten the development cycle of new medicines and much more.
Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing and evolving field. Opportunities exist to join the forefront of research in industry as well as academic institutions. Northern New Jersey/New York area is a hub for the pharmaceutical industry and one of the largest centers of biotechnology. Several institutions of higher education are also located in the region. Ramapo College is well-suited for a Bioinformatics program because it is proximal to institutions of higher education and companies that have high priority programs in Bioinformatics.
The bioinformatics curriculum has been designed to lay a solid multidisciplinary foundation in modern life sciences, chemistry, mathematics, as well as cutting-edge computer technology using informatics as an interdisciplinary, cohesive tool. In advanced courses, students are trained to manage biological data, develop computational methods to analyze and interpret data, solve scientific problems and make new discoveries. In addition to the scientific and technical concepts, students are also exposed to the social, business, and ethical aspects of science.
Highly qualified and experienced educators teach courses in the Bioinformatics curriculum. The faculty members are actively engaged in research and typically involve undergraduate students in their projects. Students are also encouraged to present their findings at research conferences and publish their accomplishments in peer reviewed scientific journals.
Supporting academic programs with the technology necessary for their success is a top priority at Ramapo College. The College has well-maintained modern laboratories for biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, chemistry and physics that are used for the Bioinformatics program. Most of these laboratories are equipped with modern computers with Internet connections. In addition, two ultramodern labs have been specially designed to teach Bioinformatics courses. The college also boasts over many different PC and Mac based computer labs across the campus, with hundreds of PCs and Macs for student use. In addition to email and web page space for students, high-end System servers support more advanced computing needs for faculty and students. Several servers have also been dedicated to Bioinformatics teaching and research.
The Major is offered by the School of Theoretical and Applied Science and leads to a B.S. degree in Bioinformatics.
Curriculum for the Bioinformatics Major:
In order to graduate with a B.S. in Bioinformatics from Ramapo College, a student will have to earn a total of 128 credits. In addition to 67-72 credits of the core subjects, students pick 10-12 credits from two sets of specialized electives. Additionally, Fundamentals of Physics I and II courses are highly recommended for Bioinformatics majors. There is also a provision for students to opt for Bioinformatics research that can be performed under the guidance of one of the faculty members of the program as TAS Research Honors, or taken as Co-Op/Internship in a suitable industry in the area.