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Integrative Genomic Sciences Teaching Modules
This website contains teaching modules for two courses in Wesleyan University's Integrative Genomic Sciences program, which incorporates bioinformatics into the study of genomics. Educators can use these modules as curricular supplements or as a framework for developing their own examples in a computer lab setting. A module for an intermediate-level genetics course uses Drosophila genes in the Flybase database to explore genetic maps, the power of relational databases, and the strengths and weaknesses of some biological database searching tools. An associated computer lab asks students to examine a human gene and its Drosophila homolog, whose protein sequences are very similar. Web modules for an upper-level course on functional genomics and bioinformatics emphasize the molecular biology and informatics of DNA, RNA and protein sequence analysis, RNA secondary structures, genome projects, gene expression, and clustering methods. The website also contains teaching demonstrations of two algorithms (SOM and K-means) used to cluster data; the demos can be incorporated to visually enhance and clarify a classroom lecture. The site provides access to relational databases of cDNA sequence, microarray, and slide data, and it also offers a Web-based assessment tool for information-theoretic analysis of aligned sequences.
Program Director: Michael Peter Weir, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1988, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
Summary: Wesleyan University is a private baccalaureate institution in Middletown, Connecticut. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- Strategies to break down the traditional boundaries between disciplines, including an innovative collaboration with a dance company that produced a multimedia theater event based on the principles of genetics;
- Extensive student research opportunities that emphasize interdisciplinary projects and include summer workshops in science writing, informatics and programming, as well as summer symposia and seminars; and
- An Integrative Genomic Sciences Program, which emphasizes two areas of interdisciplinary teaching and research: Biology in Society, defined as the relationship between the life sciences and public policy, bioethics, conservation and environmental biology; and Bioinformatics, defined as the integration of the analytical power of mathematics and information sciences into the life sciences.