Informatics For Life Sciences



This module aims to provide a broad overview of the use of informatics in the biological sciences.

It gives students a theoretical and technical grounding in a range of application areas including bioinformatics-related topics such as sequence analysis, phylogenetics, and the modelling of proteins; and higher level subjects such as modelling of pathways, ecosystems and evolution.

Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will be able to:
● Effectively use web based services in the support of biological research.
● Utilise core techniques and data sources in bioinformatics to guide with their research projects.
● Model biological phenomena ranging from databases, sequence analysis, metabolic pathways to ecological dynamics.
● Demonstrate a critical awareness of the basis of sequence analysis and evolution.
● Understand and critically analyse the base of in eco-informatics.
● Critically explore the basis of system biology.

Teaching & Learning Strategies

This module is delivered as a series of lecture and workshop sessions. While lectures are provided on core topics, there is a strong emphasis on practical activity in workshops that demonstrate the application of common tools and data sources in these contexts. Lectures are supplemented with lecture notes, reading lists and informal assignments to be undertaken during private study. These may link to workshops for which additional reading may also be assigned for preparation and discussion. Workshops provide opportunities to acquire skills in the use of software tools and databases and illustrate concepts covered in lectures. They are associated with formal assignments completed either in-class or during private study.


• Introduction and course overview.
• Review in Biology Background.
• BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool).
• Basic sequence alignment.
• Principles of phylogenetic analysis.
• Introduction to protein modelling.
• Introduction to population ecology.

• IT Skills: an introductory guide.
• Databases.
• BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool).
• Open Reading Frame identification and translation.
• Genome sequence analysis.
• Basic sequence alignment.
• Principles of phylogenetic analysis.
• Inferring evolution from genomes and gene frequencies.
• Introduction to protein modelling.
• Modelling metabolic pathways.
• Modelling ecological dynamics.