Informatics Courses

CTS 271 Introduction to Biomedical Informatics
(3 credits, Instructors: Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS and Elizabeth Chen, PhD)
Offered: Fall semester - even years (e.g., Fall 2014)
This survey course provides an overview of the field of biomedical informatics covering relevant topics in computer science, healthcare, biology, and social science. Particular emphasis will be given to understanding the organization of information in biomedicine and healthcare, the effective management of this information using computational approaches, and the impact of such approaches on biomedical research, education, and patient care. Discussions of approaches and methods in biomedical informatics will be complemented with hands-on experience with existing resources and systems, including those used in biological, clinical, and public health contexts. The final capstone project of this course will require the in-depth examination, critique, and presentation of a specific topic in biomedical informatics, ideally within the context of student (biomedical, healthcare, or computational) interests.

CTS 272 Applied Biomedical Informatics
(3 credits, Instructor: Elizabeth Chen, PhD)
Offered: Spring semester - odd years (e.g., Spring 2013)
This course provides a pragmatic coverage of topics and resources relevant to biomedical informatics. Throughout the semester, students will be exposed to real-world examples and skills related to the effective use of data, information, and knowledge in biomedicine and healthcare. Computing skills include Unix, programming (Ruby), databases (MySQL), and Web services; examples will involve a range of data sources (e.g., clinical, biomedical, and public health) and emphasis will be given to issues such as standardization, privacy and security, and handling unstructured data. Through assignments and a course project, students will gain hands-on experience in developing and applying informatics solutions in biomedical and healthcare settings.

CTS 275 Informatics Practicum
(3-12 credits, Coordinators: Elizabeth Chen, PhD and Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS)
Offered: All semesters
This practicum experience aims to provide opportunities for students to develop and apply informatics skills and knowledge in a real-world setting. These experiences may either take the form of a research or service project in biomedicine or healthcare. Based on the student’s interests (that may range from bioinformatics to clinical informatics to public health informatics), the course coordinators will assist in identifying an appropriate project and mentor/supervisor as well as facilitate the overall practicum experience. Potential informatics opportunities include those within academic units at the University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care, State of Vermont agencies, area healthcare technology entities, and regional collaborators.

MMG 231/CS 231 Programming for Bioinformatics
(3 credits, Instructor: Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS)
Offered: Spring semester – even years (e.g., Spring 2012 and Spring 2014)
This course is geared towards students actively involved in biological research endeavors and wish to gain computational and bioinformatics skills. A major aim of this course is to teach pragmatic bioinformatics skills needed for data management issues that are often bottlenecks in biological research. This course is not specifically designed to teach theoretical bioinformatics concepts or how to design efficient algorithms; however, some coverage of these topics will be done within the context of biological (e.g., “wet bench”) scenarios. The final project of the course is designed to develop a bioinformatics solution that addresses an identified data management issue surrounding on-going wet-bench research.

MMG 232/CS 232 Methods in Bioinformatics
(3 credits, Instructor: Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS)
Offered: Spring semester – odd years (e.g., Spring 2013)
This course will provide a methodological survey of bioinformatics techniques. Particular emphasis will be given to algorithms associated with popular bioinformatics applications, including those in sequence analysis, comparative genomics, structural biology, and systems biology. The final project of the course will be to demonstrate understanding of bioinformatics approaches through the development of a bioinformatics approach that can is evaluated within the context of a biological scenario.

Informatics Grand Rounds
(Coordinator: Elizabeth Chen, PhD)
Monthly seminar series for providing a venue to learn about concepts and activities across the spectrum of informatics, from bioinformatics to clinical informatics to public health informatics. This series will feature the latest research and applications in informatics by local, regional, national, and international speakers.

Sequence in Biomedical Informatics
(Program Directors: Elizabeth Chen, PhD and Indra Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS)
The Sequence in Biomedical Informatics is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of students with differing backgrounds, interests, and educational goals by: (1) providing a uniform foundation in general informatics methods, techniques, and theories; and, (2) enabling students to apply these methods to one or more areas of specialization through the two tracks (Bioinformatics and Clinical & Public Health Informatics). The curriculum includes a combination of formal coursework and practical education through a hands-on practicum experience.