CS444 Introduction to Computational Biology (Fall 2012)


  • Instructor: Amarda Shehu amarda\AT\cs.gmu.edu
    Place and Time: Innovation Hall 136, T 12:00-1:15 pm
    Office Hours: ENG #4422, TR 10:00-12:00 pm


  • This course will introduce students to the rising importance of computer science in the life sciences. The topics will focus on computational methods in molecular biology. An array of methods will be introduced for the purpose of understanding and characterizing the role of molecules in cells and man-made constructs. Topics will be presented as three-week units, focusing on sequence alignment, gene and motif finding, structure and function prediction and modeling, covering both nucleic acids and proteins. Selected research topics will also be presented.


  • Material will be disseminated in the form of lectures. Students will be tested on comprehension through homeworks, some of which will contain simple programming assignments. Students can program in their language of choice. Students with little prior programming experience are encouraged to use Matlab.

    A class make-up of students with different backgrounds, encompassing biology, chemistry, statistics, computer science, and electrical engineering, will give students a glimpse of the interdisciplinary and highly-collaborative work between the exact sciences and life sciences. This environment and team work will enhance the experience of each individual student in the class.

    Students will work in two- to three-member teams towards their final topic presentation. To encourage independent research in computational biology, students will have the opportunity to choose and review interesting topics from existing literature. The in-class presentation of selected research articles on a chosen topic will conclude their course work.

Grade Breakdown

  • Hw 1: 10%             Hw 2: 25%             Hw 3: 25%             Hw 4: 25%             Presentation: 15%