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Johns Hopkins University

Bioinformatics: Life Sciences on Your Computer

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


The DNA sequencing revolution has exploded and new, inexpensive technologies have led to sequences being determined faster than they can be analyzed. Bioinformatics brings together biology, math and computer science into a quickly emerging discipline that turns the computer into a scientific research lab.

The relevance of bioinformatics extends to many disciplines, including health science, molecular biology, genetics, drug discovery, biochemistry, cell biology and education. Its impact is significant. Many scientific researchers with advanced degrees are going back to school to learn computer techniques that have become as essential to new discovery as pipettes and flasks.

This course will introduce some important basic bioinformatics concepts while allowing for the adventurous to explore some topics in further depth if desired.


Week 1: Biological Databases

·         Database Structure

·         Searching PubMed

·         The NCBI Public Sequence Database

·         Sequence Retrieval

Week 2 - BLAST and Sequence Alignment

·         Pairwise Sequence Alignment

·         BLAST, Database Searches

·         Assessing Homology

Week 3 – Protein Bioinformatics

·         Determining Molecular Weight, Isoelectric Point

·         Predicting Secondary Structure

·         The PDB Database

·         Prosite Domain searches

·         Predicting Cellular Localization

Week 4 – Prokaryotic Genomes

·         Bacterial Gene Prediction

·         Prokaryotic Gene Structure

·         Viruses

Week 5 – Eukaryotic Genomes, Human Variation

·         Eukaryotic Gene Structure

·         Ensembl Database

·         Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

·         DNA Fingerprinting

Taught by

Bob Lessick


4.8 rating, based on 4 Class Central reviews

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  • Greg Chapman
    This course is primarily an introduction to various databases and tools available online for bioinformatics. The lectures were clear, walking students through various searches, showing us around websites like NCBI and ENSEMBL. The assignments and quizzes then allowed us to explore on our own and ensure we could find particular information.
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    Kevin Zhu
  • Suhier Bashier

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