Research into heredity and diseases is no longer possible without programmers. If you are wondering how you can apply IT and biology skills to lifelike problems in health and disease, then the unique Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics in Bruges is something for you!

Bioinformatics is a new and spectacular field which uses methods from informatics to store and process molecular biological information (DNA, proteins, functions). In bioinformatics, molecular biology is combined with informatics and programming. Bioinformatics scientists are capable of retrieving the necessary information from databases and using these to make predictions. As a bioinformatician you will look for application possibilities of informatics within biological/biomedical laboratories.

  • Informatics scientist: application of informatics techniques to storage, organising and sharing (molecular biological) data
  • Bioinformatics scientist:  data processing and (statistical) analysis by means of bioinformatics tools in a dry lab
  • Programmer: integration by scripting and automation of bioinformatics tools

In the course of the Bioinformatics programme, 3 roles are covered: the role of programmer, the role of informatics scientist and the role of bioinformatics scientist. You learn several programming languages like PHP, Python and R, and you use the most relevant databases from which you learn to process and interpret data. During the programme there is a special emphasis on the application of open source tools, both in a Windows and in a Linux environment. During the traineeship (without a bachelor’s thesis) a fourth role is addressed, that of the new young professional, in which the more generic competencies of a bachelor's training (such as working in team, clear communication, …) are pursued.

As the training progresses, you become more and more familiar with the processing of complex biological data, like the analysis of next generation sequencing data (NGS data) or the application of machine learning techniques and you are able to apply these within a professional framework.

ECTS-sheets

lecture on bioinformatics howest

Your timetable

Each week you will have 24 (period A) to 28 (period B and C) hours of classes. Classes are scheduled per half day (per 4 hours). So you come to the campus for at least half a day or a full day. 

An example timetable from period B

students in aula

Bioinformatics daytime programme

If you have just completed a higher education training and/or you want to study full-time, the daytime programme in Bruges (Belgium) is something for you!

  • The training takes one academic year and uses a quad-semester system. In this system, there are 4 blocks or periods of 6 to 8 weeks each.
  • In each block, 3 to 4 course units are covered, followed by an examination period.
  • In the last block, a traineeship – without a bachelor’s thesis – is performed, after which the traineeship subject is presented to a jury of the work field.
  • The lectures, workshops and examinations are organized on campus in Bruges, Belgium.
  • The full-time daytime training is organized every year and starts in September. Due to sequentiality restrictions, it is not possible to start this programme in February.

Roles within the programme

Informatics

The informatics course units focus on the application of informatics techniques to organize our data in database systems. To analyze (biological) data, we learn to work on a Linux system, and to apply machine learning techniques in the context of big data. 

Bioinformatics

The bioinformatics course units provide an overview of tools and techniques for biological data processing and (statistical) analysis. You learn to process next-generation sequencing data, to analyze and compare molecular sequences in the context of evolution, to model the structures of biological macromolecules, and to analyze biological processes and pathways on the systems level. 

Programming

During the programme, several programming languages are covered. You learn to create a web interface for your (bioinformatics) analysis using HTML, CSS and PHP, to integrate and automate bioinformatics tools by means of scripting in Python, and to analyze and visualize biological data with the statistical programming language R.

Nanopore sequencing experiment Bioinformatics analysis

All-round bioinformatics technician

Thanks to the increasing use of informatics in life sciences, the field of bioinformatics more and more comes to the forefront. Bioinformatics scientists are needed both in the private sector and in research laboratories of universities and their spin-offs (such as Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB)). Researchers really need the bioinformatics scientist/technicians to make the link between informatics and molecular biology.

A bioinformatics scientist is a polyvalent staff member who can be employed in a very wide range of functions within scientific research, both in the private sector and in academic research centers. He is the key person for the processing of experimental data, the generation of ab initio data by means of existing models. This can be about evolution theory, comparative genome analyses, the improvement in predicting genetic conditions, the follow-up and maintenance of databases. In summary, a bioinformatics scientist is the perfect blend between the ICT expert and the molecular biologist!

Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics at home
Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics at home

Research into heredity and diseases is no longer possible without programmers. If you are wondering how you can apply IT and biology skills to lifelike problems in health and disease, then the unique Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics in Bruges is something for you!

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Mieke Demeyere

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In the case you buy a laptop through Howest, you can look here which laptop is recomended by your course. In the case you already own a laptop or wish to buy a new one yourself, it needs to qualify to the same specifications.

Would you like to study abroad for a semester? Or are you interested in an international internship? You can! You will discover all the opportunities to go abroad within Howest on this page. During your studies, we will work together to make your international adventure a reality!

Onze studenten Biomedische Laboratoriumtechnologie komen uit diverse (wetenschappelijke) richtingen, zowel ASO als TSO (soms ook KSO).

Studenten met een gelijkaardige voorkennis hebben in het verleden met succes het diploma Biomedische Laboratoriumtechnologie behaald. Veel hangt uiteraard af van je motivatie, inzet en capaciteiten.

In September, entry courses are organized to practice the practical skills in the lab and freshen up the basic knowledge of chemistry. With help of the digital catch-up course, you are able to utilise a lot exercises to practice your skills. You can request these starting at the 16th of August by mailing blt [at] howest.be

Indeed, during the reception day (the week before the start of the academic year) you can purchase your lab equipment on campus. The limited amount of books that you require can be purchased online. The only thing you need to purchase yourself, is the lab coat. You will need this starting from the first week of classes. Be sure to purchase this before the start of the academic year. The lab coat needs to meet the following requirements: acid resistance, long sleeves, long model (no hip model). The courses are offered via the electronic learning platform and can be printed at the school at an advantageous price.

The large majority of our students travel by bus, train, bike or car. Our campus is at walkingdistance from the train station of Bruges. The other group stays at student accommodation in Bruges (private owned or accommodation by Howest).