Computational Biology

Computational Biology Major/Minor

The UR Department of Biology offered a new major starting Fall 2015 in Computational Biology (BCB). The BCB major offers a flexible integration of biology and computational science.

What is computational biology?

Computational Biology is a field that uses methods in computer science, statistics and modeling to solve biological problems.

What is the difference between Computational Biology and Bioinformatics?

The terms computational biology and bioinformatics, although often used interchangeably, are distinct. Computational biology refers to the practice of using computers to conduct research in biology. This includes the application or development of computational algorithms and statistical methods to solve biological problems. Bioinformatics instead focuses on the development of computational tools (e.g. software, databases) used in biology.

What do computational biologists do?

Computational biologists work on diverse problems in genomics, biophysics, proteomics, structural biology, neurobiology, biochemistry, medicine, ecology, evolution and more. A computational biologist can work in private industry, universities, nonprofits or government.

“To use this flood of knowledge, which will pour across the computer networks of the world, biologists not only must become computer literate, but also change their approach to the problem of understanding life”

-Walter Gilbert 1991


Interested in jumping into computational biology research on campus? The Undergraduate Placement Program (UR-UPP) is a great place to start.
Computational medicine

Are you an undergraduate interested in computational biology and medicine? If so, consider a new early assurance program at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC).

Online resources for careers in computational biology:

Other useful links:

  • International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) website
  • The Rosalind project is an online resource for learning bioinformatics by completing online examples.
  • Swirl is a platform for learning R  at your own pace.
  • Learn Python, Java and more at the Codecademy online.
  • Big Data 2 Knowledge (BD2K): a virtual lecture series from NCBI about applications of data science to biomedical research