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    The ISCB Affiliates program is designed to forge links between ISCB and regional non-profit membership groups, centers, institutes and networks that involve researchers from various institutions and/or organizations within a defined geographic region involved in the advancement of bioinformatics. Such groups have regular meetings either in person or online, and an organizing body in the form of a board of directors or steering committee. If you are interested in affiliating your regional membership group, center, institute or network with ISCB, please review these guidelines (.pdf) and submit your application using the online ISCB Affiliated Group Application form. Your exploratory questions to ISCB about the appropriateness of a potential future affiliation are also welcome by Diane E. Kovats, ISCB Executive Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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Professional Development, Training and Education

ISCBintel and Achievements

ISCB High School Teachers Workshop

Incorporating Bioinformatics into High School Biology Courses


This is a hands-on workshop was held prior to the annual meeting of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Instructors included Dr. Fran Lewitter, Founding Director of Bioinformatics and Research Computing at Whitehead Institute; Dr. David Form, biology teacher at Nashoba Regional High School; and, Dr. Patricia Palagi, Head, Training and Outreach, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.

The workshop included bioinformatics activities that can be used in your classroom to help students learn biological principles. Topics include BLAST and other resources available at NCBI (the National Center for Biotechnology Information) and in Europe.


Resource and Presentation Materials:

Introduction to BLAST

   BLAST intro slides pdf

   BLAST intro slides ppt

BLAST hands-on activity

   Searching for fossil genes 

   Chilean Blob pdf   docx

mouse cDNA  NM_178747 

mouse protein  NP_848862.1


   Slides pdf     Slides ppt 
NCBI and Ensembl hands-on - Fran    Exercises docx     Exercises txt 

Understanding a genetic disease

with bioinformatics - hands-on


This workshop is co-sponsored by ISCB and GOBLET with generous support from NSF. 











Careers in Bioinformatics

The fields of bioinformatics and computational biology involve the development and application of tools to make biological discoveries. Bioinformatics is being introduced to high school students in biology classes. There are undergraduate, masters level and Ph.D. programs that train student in these fields. See http://www.iscb.org/iscb-degree-certificate-programs for examples of degree programs in bioinformatics and computational biology. In addition, some people enter the field as a biologist who learns how to use the tools or as computer scientists/engineers who are able to build tools. A solid background in both biology and computer science is extremely helpful.

A recent publication by the ISCB Education committee proposes curriculum guidelines and core competencies. In particular, the report presents 3 common categories of people who develop skills in bioinformatics.

  • Bioinformatics users access data resources to perform job duties in specific application domains. Bench-based researchers, both in academia and in industry, provide the classic example of a bioinformatics user, but this group is broadening in scope. For example, medical professionals (e.g., physicians and genetic counselors) utilize bioinformatics resources in medical contexts for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and counseling of patients.” [See Figure 2 in the above referenced manuscript.]
  • Bioinformatics engineers create the novel computational methods needed by bioinformatics users and scientists. Thus, a bioinformatics engineer must have strengths in computational and statistical sciences and must have general competency in biomedical sciences. [See Figure 4 in the above referenced manuscript.]

Once trained in the field, there are a number of opportunities to build a career. Some examples are listed below:

Individual contributor - Many scientific labs, both in the academic and commercial sector, are hiring people trained in bioinformatics to support the research of the lab. Positions are available for various levels and types of training. People in these positions generally work on a specific area of research.

Core facilities - Many institutions create a central resource for labs in an institution. These resources are call core facilities. Members of such groups often have a mix of skills and work on many different research projects with researchers in many different labs.

Educators - There is a demand for teaching bioinformatics at many different levels. Some Ph.D. level bioinformaticians will pursue an academic career, build their own research agenda and teach at the university level. In addition, there are a number of institutions who host a dedicated facility to teach bioinformatics to people inside the institution as well as to the greater community.

Software developers - Another career path that supports bioinformatics is the development of new algorithms and new tools. There are companies dedicated to building and deploying computational tools. Other bioinformatics software developers are hired within core facilities and within individual research labs.





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Lesson Plans and Hands-on Activities for Bioinformatics Curriculum


The following may prove useful to secondary school educators and students looking for information on Bioinformatics teaching tools





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Bioinformatics Resources for High Schools

Bioinformatics is an integral part of biology and, thus, is being introduced to high school students as part of biology coursework. In 2012, the College Board revised a number of labs including the evolution labs of the Biology AP exam preparation. Included is a lab "Comparing DNA Sequences to Understand Evolutionary Relationships with BLAST." Tools, such as BLAST, and other bioinformatics tools, help us interpret the patterns in biological data and are important to help students learn biological principles. 

June 5, 2016 Youth Bioinformatics Symposium (ISCB-YBS) - Workshops

PLoS Collection - Bioinformatics: Starting early



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Teaching Bioinformatics at the Secondary School Level


This page will be updated soon.


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