Which research track should I choose? BISB or BMI?

On the application form, you will need to select a track as well as faculty you are interested in working with. Please review the track descriptions and the links below to see which track better fits your interests. Tracks differ in coursework and in the research focus of the labs you may potentially rotate in or join.

  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (BISB): Recent and novel technologies produce biological data sets of ever-increasing resolution that reveal not only genomic sequences, but also RNA and protein abundances, their interactions with each other, their sub-cellular localization, and the identity and abundance of other biological molecules. This requires the development and application of sophisticated computational methods, encompassed by the field of Bioinformatics.
    Biomedical research has risen to the challenge of understanding the integrated functions of thousands of genes. Physical and functional interaction networks chart connectivities, reveal functional modules, and provide clues on the functioning of specific genes. Using mathematical models of the stochastic and dynamical events of biology reveals fundamental design principles and allow for virtual experimentation. This is a focus of the field of Systems Biology.
  • Biomedical Informatics (BMI): Rapidly increasing capabilities of rapid molecular and genomic analyses in the clinic promise to transform medical practice in unprecedented ways. The ability to cross-query data and knowledge bases provides opportunities and challenges to computational sciences interfacing with medicine to produce support systems for data management, text and language processing, privacy, clinical decision support, and data mining for knowledge discovery. These define the goals of Biomedical Informatics.
  • Can I apply for both tracks?
    You may only submit one application and may only select one preferred track. If your interest is broad bioinformatics / systems biology, please apply through the BISB track. If you are more specifically interested in biomedical informatics, please apply through the BMI track. The main difference for application review is the research areas of the faculty reviewing the application, and therefore it's best to align your research interests. That said, the admissions committee will jointly decide whether candidates will be given an offer under the BISB or BMI track. You might select BMI but get an offer for the BISB track, or vice-versa. Please also note that there is flexibility to take coursework and rotate/join labs between the two tracks.
  • Other programs: If you have a medical or wetlab focus and are interested in using Bioinformatics tools to analyze research data, but do not wish to focus on the algorithms and software behind them, please also check related programs such as Biomedical SciencesBioengineering, and Quantitative Biology.

See these pages for further information about research areas in each track: