Source: Me Next Magazine-Rajasthan Patrika (08-Sept-2018)
Course: PG Diploma in Bioinformatics
Institute: Osmania University, Hyderabad
The Osmania University, established in 1918, is the seventh oldest in the country, third oldest in South India and the first to be established in the princely State of Hyderabad. Though the need for a university for the Hyderabad State was felt, both by the intelligentsia and the people for a long time, the initiative came from a civil servant, Sir Akbar Hydari, who was then the Home Secretary to the State Government. Sir Akbar, in a Memorandum to the Education Minister in early 1917, emphasized the need to establish a University for Hyderabad with ‘Urdu’ as the medium of instruction “as it is the language of the widest currency in India, official language of the State,”.
Origin of Bioinformatics :
A decade before DNA sequencing became viable, computational biologists focused on the rapidly accumulating data from protein biochemistry. Without the benefits of supercomputers or computer networks, these scientists laid important conceptual and technical foundations for bioinformatics today.
Computational biologists had developed a diverse set of techniques for analyzing molecular structure, function and evolution. Although originally designed for studying proteins, many of these computing techniques could be adapted for studying nucleic acids. Some of these techniques survive today or have lineal descendants that are used in bioinformatics. In other cases, they stimulated the development of more refined techniques to correct deficiencies in the original methods. Although the nascent field was later revolutionized by the advent of genome projects, large-scale computer networks, immense, students databases, supercomputers and powerful desktop computers, today’s bioinformatics also rests on the important intellectual and technical foundations laid by scientists at an earlier period in the computer era.
Importance of Bioinformatics :
The field of bioinformatics has experienced extraordinary growth over the past decade, in large part due to the vast amounts of complex data generated by the Human Genome Project and the concomitant need for sophisticated approaches to storage, retrieval, analysis and sharing of data. Bioinformatics remains one of the most active and powerful scientific areas nationally and internationally. Education and Research in Sciences are increasingly dependent on bioinformatics and advanced information technology infrastructures to develop, manage, interpret, and distribute extremely large data sets generated by high-throughput screening of experimental approaches.
Bioinformatics, biological databases, and the worldwide use of computers have accelerated biological research in many fields, such as evolutionary biology. The science that relates to bioinformatics has many components. It usually relates to biological molecules and therefore requires knowledge in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular evolution, thermodynamics, biophysics, molecular engineering, and statistical mechanics, to name a few. It requires the use of computer science, mathematical, and statistical principles. Bioinformatics is in the cross roads of experimental and theoretical science. Bioinformatics is not only about modeling or data ‘mining’, it is about understanding the molecular world that fuels life from evolutionary and mechanistic perspectives. It is truly inter-disciplinary and is changing. Much like biotechnology and genomics, bioinformatics is moving from applied to basic science, from developing tools to developing hypotheses.
In the last three decades, personal computers have become accessible not only across all disciplines of science, but they have also become valuable tools for science education. The easy access of students to computers, and recently the free access to biological databases, opens up new possibilities in the teaching of genetics, taxonomy, and evolutionary biology.
Bioinformatics, an application of information technology to the assessment of biological data, allows an interdisciplinary approach in the teaching of genetics, taxonomy, evolutionary biology and drug discovery.
Drug discovery is the process of discovering and designing drugs, which includes target identification, target validation, lead identification, lead optimization and introduction of the new drugs to the public. This process is very important, involving analyzing the causes of the diseases and finding ways to tackle them.