Spectacular developments in biomedical sciences have occurred over the past 20 years due to advances in biomedical imaging, genomics and proteomics.
These changes have created a need to organize, analyze and interpret large amounts of data, and to devise new ways to modify biological function.
Computational biologists, who apply computer science techniques to complex biological and biomedical problems, are devoted to developing these kinds of analyses. They must be well trained in biology, mathematics and computer science.
The degree in Computational Biology
Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Biological Sciences realized the potential of computational biology early, offering one of the first degree programs in the United States. Development of computational biology at Carnegie Mellon over the subsequent 20 years led to the creation of a Computational Biology Department within the School of Computer Science in 2009.
What the program involves
This program provides an intensive, interdisciplinary education that enables outstanding students to become leaders in identifying and solving tomorrow’s biological problems using computational methods.
The curriculum is designed for students who are interested in the intersection of biology and computer science, and is grounded in these disciplines as well as the physical sciences and mathematics. In addition to the core courses, the program includes major-specific and general electives, allowing students to shape their degree program according to their interests and goals.
Career paths and potential employers
Computational biology graduates pursue many different career paths, including biomedical imaging, genomics research or bioinformatics. Many students go on to perform graduate research. Examples of research studies range from predicting disease susceptibilities and treatment options from personal genome sequences to automatically analyzing biomedical images.