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Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project-Based Approach

Author(s): Caroline St. Clair, North Central College
Jonathan E. Visick, North Central College
  • ISBN-13: 9780763758295
  • Paperback    360 pages      © 2010
Price: International Sales $170.95 US List
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An updated Second Edition will publish December 2013 - Learn More

Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project-Based Approach is intended for an introductory course in bioinformatics at the undergraduate level.  Through hands-on projects, students are introduced to current biological problems and then explore and develop bioinformatic solutions to these issues.  Each chapter presents a key problem, provides basic biological concepts, introduces computational techniques to address the problem, and guides students through the use of existing web-based tools and software solutions. This progression prepares students to tackle the On-Your-Own Project, where they develop their own software solutions. Topics such as antibiotic resistance, genetic disease, and genome sequencing provide context and relevance to capture student interest. 

Key Features:

  • Guided Programming Projects: Guided analysis of solutions to current biological problems enables students to understand the computational approaches to real-world issues. 
  • On-Your-Own Projects: Students are provided with the opportunity to apply their problem-solving and programming skills to new problems.
  • Web Exploration: Includes widely used web-based tools to explore bioinformatic approaches to important biological questions.
  • BioBackground: Provides key biological concepts for understanding the chapter material. 
  • Perl: Need to Know: Provides key Perl and programming syntax for developing software solutions within the chapter exercises. 
  • Putting Your Skills into Practice Exercises: Test students’ problem-solving abilities through either modifying or implementing existing code.
  • BioConcept Questions: Help students assess whether their biology knowledge is sufficient to master the chapter material.


Applicable Courses

Intended for introductory Bioinformatics courses offered at the undergraduate level within the departments of Biology and Computer Science. 

Chapter  1  Exploring Bioinformatics
Chapter  2  The Central Dogma: Exploring Genetic Disease
Chapter  3  Gene Alignments: Investigating Antibiotic Resistance
Chapter  4  Protein Alignments: Clues to Protein Function
Chapter  5  Sequence Assembly: The Human Genome
Chapter  6  Gene Prediction: Finding Genes in the Human Genome
Chapter  7  RNA and Protein Structure: Structure Prediction
Chapter  8  Molecular Phylogenetics: Measuring Evolution
Chapter  9  Microarrays and Gene Expression
Appendix  A  Installing Perl and Running a Perl Program
Appendix  B  Introduction to Programming and Perl Syntax

Caroline St. Clair-North Central College

Caroline St. Clair (Computer Science) is a Professor at North Central College in Naperville, IL, where she teaches an introductory bioinformatics course for students majoring in computer science, biology, biochemistry and mathematics. Dr. St. Clair holds degrees in Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago and DePaul University. She has worked with undergraduate students in the area of data mining.

Additional Titles by this Author

Jonathan E. Visick-North Central College

Jonathan Visick (Biology) is Professor at North Central College in Naperville, IL, where co-teaches an introductory bioinformatics course for students majoring in computer science, biology, biochemistry and mathematics. Dr. Visick holds degrees in Microbiology from Brigham Young University and the University of Washington. He actively involves undergraduates in his research on repair of isoaspartyl protein damage in Escherichia coli.

  • Thanks for sending me  Dr. Caroline St. Clair and Dr. Jonathan Visick's text "Exploring Bioinformatics: A Project Based Approach". I am very impressed with the text.  The main thing that I find attractive about St Clair and Visick's text is the excellent project sections. I have taught computer science for 30 years and this book could be the model for how computer projects should be presented. It is far better in that regard than any computer science text I have used. The authors have also done a nice job of arranging the projects so that they can be tackled on different levels by students with a wide range of computer science background. Our class is mostly Biology students with little or no programming experience along with a few senior computer science students. I think that the approach used by this text would go along ways toward addressing issues raised by that difference in background.

The following instructor resources are available to qualified instructors for download

ISBN-13: 9780763758295

Additional Resources for Instructors
Slides in PowerPoint Format