Starting in the fall of 2012 Langara will offer an Associate of Science Degree in the discipline, which involves the application of computer science and information technology principles to biology and medicine.
The two-year degree will allow for efficient transfer into third-year science programs at BC universities, and specifically into the third year of the bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics program at Simon Fraser University.
The College will also be offering a two-year diploma in bioinformatics, which will prepare students for entry-level positions in the discipline. The move to offer the subject is a direct response to the continuing evolution of the study of biology in the information age.
“The development of technology is consistently changing, and the way we approach traditional subjects must adapt to meet modern challenges,” said Margaret Heldman, Dean of Langara’s Faculty of Science.
“Bioinformatics is emerging as an important field of study, and we are incredibly excited to be launching this program at Langara.”
The study of bioinformatics has become a focus in the scientific community as the need to manage vast amounts of data – for instance, in genomic mapping research – has increased. The Lower Mainland of British Columbia is considered to be a major hub for bioinformatics worldwide, with a growing demand for those trained in the subject.
“Computer science has fundamentally changed the learning and practice of biology,” said Martin Gerson, Langara’s Vice-President, Academic and Provost. “This is a rapidly growing industry that will create employment opportunities for many of our graduates in the Lower Mainland.”
Langara is the first college in Western Canada to be offering a qualification in bioinformatics.