There is a revolution underway in the Biosciences. With the development of awesome measurement technologies to map the component parts of cells, organisms and ecosystems, the Biosciences have become data-rich. This development has been accelerated by the establishment of vast databases of genomes, molecular constituents, and electronic medical records, all of which are available for analysis. In the 21st century, research challenges lie increasingly in the development of robust methods for data analysis and its meaningful interpretation. In other words, the discipline of Bioinformatics is a central aspect of all branches of biosciences research.

The Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Graduate Program at UCLA is young, but has deep roots. UCLA has a long history of excellence and innovation in bringing quantitative thinking and computational approaches into studies of biology and medicine, dating back to the 1980s with pioneering work in computational structural biology and molecular phylogenetics. On the other hand, we are young; our first class of 5 Ph.D. students just entered the program in 2009. In the past few years, our program has enjoyed a tremendous growth in size and impact. We now have 38 Ph.D. students in the program, and one of the largest incoming classes among the UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience. We have a diverse group of about 50 faculty members spanning over 10 academic departments in the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Public Health. Our exceptional faculty mentors include HHMI investigators and members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The core mission of our program is to train the next-generation of academic and industrial leaders in bioinformatics, biomedical informatics, and systems biology. We offer rigorous and integrated training for students interested in undertaking research at the interface of computer science, mathematics, statistics, biology, and biomedicine to address the fundamental challenges of data-rich research in biosciences. Our faculty are deeply committed to this mission and provide in-depth, attentive mentorship for our students throughout their graduate careers and beyond. Our students enjoy a vibrant intellectual environment including the Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences, the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, and the NIH Big Data to Knowledge Center of Excellence at UCLA. We offer exceptional institutional resources and facilities for genomic and biomedical big data production and advanced high-performance computing. We are home to a new NIH Training Grant in Biomedical Big Data, and our students receive extensive fellowship support from a large list of training grants at UCLA. We are devoted to community outreach and diversity, and deeply committed to recruiting and training students from underrepresented groups in Bioinformatics.

I invite you to join us and participate in this exciting Big Data and Informatics revolution in biology and medicine.

 

Yi Xing

Chair of the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program, UCLA