The GM Diplomate program in Bioinformatics (Dipl.Bioinfo) delves into the science and art of bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary field that develops methods for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data. A GM physician with a diplomate in Bioinformatics is essentially an information scientist (informaticist), a librarian without a library.
In our minds an informaticist should be wearing a white coat and holding a test tube full of simmering, rainbow-colored, glowing information; but information isn’t messy (at least in any physical sort of way) so no need for the white coat. Since a major activity in bioinformatics is to develop software tools to generate useful biological knowledge, you will begin your journey by learning the basics of information technology.
The Dipl.Bioinfo program places a strong emphasis on the development of generative informatics tools for the naturopathic medicine community. The INGM is devoted to the concept of open-source, so the great majority of our work in web-based. For that you’ll need to learn the languages that allow you to write code to generate dynamic web pages, structure information, capture and parse data. Graduates of the program will be expected to contribute to the DataPunk initiatives, in addition to coding new applications, and performing informatics-based research.
PERL: The Language of Bioinformatics
We’ve selected Perl to be the official coding language of the INGM:
- It is universal. Perl drives most of the underpinnings of the Internet
- It is robust. Perl has an amazing library of existing modules that perform a variety of functions. If you can think of a task, CPAN (the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) probably contains a module that will spare you the job of having to re-invent the wheel
- It has strong bioinformatics roots. Perl was than computer language credited with ‘saving’ the Human Genome Project. Perl also has an extraordinary library of existing bioinformatics modules (BioPerl). Perl has a robust library of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that interface with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) server, including access to PubMed, MeSH, etc.
- It has a great didactic heritage. Perl has an enormous library of books, ranging from ‘Perl for Dummies’ to advanced bioinformatics textbooks
Modules-based learning, with webinar lectures featuring core staff and guest lecturers. The program runs approximately 18 months and requires attendance at three (3) INGM in-house training seminars.
The Diplomate in Bioinformatics certification is available to all INGM certified Fellows, upon approval by the Academic Board.