Explore UAB

Undergraduate Program in Bioinformatics College of Arts and Sciences | Heersink School of Medicine


""Our society's accelerated scientific growth is generating an unprecedented quantity of information, while computer science is learning how to handle this information through developments in data science. In particular, data from the sequencing of the human genome is helping us better understand living systems and is guiding treatment of human disease through precision medicine. That information must be stored, managed, and analyzed to reveal its biological meaning to help shape the future of research and healthcare.

Bioinformatics is the discipline that connects the biological sciences, genetics, chemistry, computer science, data science, IT, engineering, applied mathematics, biostatistics, computing, and biomedical engineering. This new major is designed to build on these disciplines and provide students with a marketable degree — with an extensive background in an array of subjects — that will provide cutting-edge employment opportunities, as well as a platform for success in graduate school, medical school, and other clinical-professional schools.

As the first B.S. in Bioinformatics in the state of Alabama, this program will train students in basic concepts and skills to perform computational analysis of biological data — including the human genome. This will also create a well-trained workforce who can take on future healthcare challenges in the state of Alabama.

A Multidisciplinary Project

One of the goals of the College of Arts and Sciences is to offer innovative interdisciplinary programs that span the traditional boundaries of science, arts, and humanities. The college’s Department of Biology and Department of Computer Science, along with the School of Medicine’s Department of Genetics and the Informatics Institute, will administer the new Bioinformatics Program.

  • The three-pronged mission of the UAB Department of Computer Science is:

    • To conduct cutting-edge research in areas of national need, frequently in collaboration with other disciplines.
    • To provide high quality instruction to our students, and equip them with the state-of-the-art knowledge and skills in computer science that they need to take up real-world challenges.
    • To provide service to the community, both inside and outside the university, and to society as a whole.

    To fulfill that mission, the faculty in the Department of Computer Science are working in four core areas: cyber security, data science and analytics, biomedical applications, and advanced cyber infrastructures (encompassing cloud computing, high performance computing, and the Internet of Things). Bioinformatics is a logical extension for Computer Science at UAB—a research university with an academic medical center.

  • UAB Medicine's Department of Genetics is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of faculty focused on performing basic laboratory and clinical research, providing inpatient and outpatient consultation services, and offering state-of-the-art genetic diagnostic testing.

    • Clinical Services: Our goal is to deliver outstanding care for patients and families through integrated clinical and laboratory services. For some conditions, we are considered a national and international referral source.
    • Research: We seek to expand knowledge and create new applications through clinical, laboratory, and computational research along the continuum from fundamental studies to preclinical investigations, to bench-to-bedside translation, to clinical practice and community implementation.
    • Education: We provide genetics education and training to students, health professionals, researchers and the public.
  • The Informatics Institute provides a home for focusing biomedical informatics activities in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine. The Institute comprises core and affiliated faculty and staff with expertise across the biomedical informatics spectrum, including bioinformatics, computational and systems biomedicine, translational informatics, clinical research informatics, and clinical informatics.

    • We lead and conduct research at the intersection of informatics, mathematics, data and systems science, biology and medicine, to develop new approaches, techniques, tools, and models that aim at solving problems relevant to human health and disease, including biomedical discoveries, assisted diagnosis, development of treatments, and novel therapeutics. Informatics contributes toward timely prevention of diseases in individuals and communities, and is rapidly advancing health care and biomedical research.
    • We contribute with our expertise to facilitate medical, biomedical, and translational research at UAB and around the world, through partnerships and collaborations with experimentalists and clinicians.
    • We offer educational programs by teaching Informatics at the undergraduate and graduate level and by training the next generations of Informatics researchers; we offer a dynamic environment with numerous opportunities for current and prospective students and postdoctoral researchers to contribute toward cutting-edge research and innovation in biomedicine and health care.
    • We coordinate Informatics-related efforts with other UAB initiatives, most notably the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Personalized Medicine Institute
  • The UAB Department of Biology has internationally renowned faculty working in three core areas:

    • Integrated Biology — whole organism biology, physiology and development, ecology and evolution, cellular, and molecular biology
    • Marine Science
    • Molecular Biology — DNA and the biology of the cell

    Because biology is such a dynamic and ever-changing field, the addition of bioinformatics is critical to ensuring that it remains relevant, transformational, and cutting-edge as it applies to all areas, including the environment and issues of human health and disease.

    As a direct result of the level of its faculty expertise and research quality, the UAB Department of Biology places more undergraduates in health-related professional schools and in nationwide Ph.D. programs than any department in any university in Alabama.

Other partners include the School of Health Professions and the School of Public Health.


We invite you to explore this site and learn about the program, its faculty, and careers in Bioinformatics. Please let us know if you have any questions about the program.