8 Best Bioinformatics Online Courses [Updated 2020]
Modern biology has been known to generate massive amounts of big data. This data often hides some really key information that medical science has been trying to uncover over the years. It is believed that this data might hold some medical breakthroughs like advanced cancer therapies, origin and cures of unknown diseases, and any information that you might need to understand the human body and human history. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of the team that discovers the next miraculous cure to a fatal disease? Bioinformatics will help you do it through the amalgamation of biology, computer science and mathematics.
Thus, we at TrumpLearning, along with a team of 10 experts have curated this list of the 8 Best Bioinformatics Online Courses to help you get on the right track and learn from the best. So without any further delay, let’s dive right into the meaty and juicy part that you are here for.
List Of The Best Bioinformatics Online Courses
- Bioinformatics Specialization [Coursera]
- Biology Meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners [Coursera]
- MicroMasters® Program in Bioinformatics [EdX]
- Genomic Data Science Specialization [Coursera]
- Bioinformatic Methods I [Coursera]
- Bioinformatics: Introduction and Methods [Coursera]
- Bioinformatics Certificate [Harvard Extension School]
- Computational Biology [MIT OpenCourseware]
This is a 9-month comprehensive, beginner level specialization offered by University Of Southern California San Diego which teaches you about the fundamentals of computational biology. The focus would lie on mastering bioinformatics software and approaches of modern biology. The specialization does not require you to have any prerequisite knowledge and can be taken by anybody with an interest to learn.
The specialization consists of 7 bioinformatics online courses:
The first Coursera bioinformatics course in the series is a 16-hour bioinformatics training course that will help you learn about the power of computing in modern biology. The core objective is to look for hidden messages in the DNA. You would be going through a plethora of fascinating concepts like DNA replication, where it begins in the genome, DNA patterns and the role of molecular clocks, circadian rhythm. You will study some randomized algorithms and solve challenging problems.
Important lessons covered in the bioinformatics online course are:
- Finding Replication Origins
- Hunting for Regulatory Motifs
- How Rolling Dice Helps Us Find Regulatory Motifs
- Bioinformatics Application Challenge
In this 17-hour Coursera bioinformatics course you will look into the different aspects of how you can derive important pieces of information using graph theory to assemble genomes from short pieces of DNA codes. You will dive more into the complex challenge of how biologists still cannot read the nucleotides of an entire genome. Brute force algorithms and their application to sequence mini-proteins called antibiotics has also been covered.
Major topics covered in the bioinformatics training course are:
- Applying Euler’s Theorem to Assemble Genomes
- Sequencing Antibiotics
- From Ideal to Real Spectra for Antibiotics Sequencing
- 20 to More than 100 Amino Acids
In this 22-hour Coursera bioinformatics course you will learn how to compare the sequenced genomes to determine how species have evolved and what makes them different. Further, you will also dive into the study of a powerful algorithmic tool called dynamic programming which will help you in determining the number of mutations that have separated the two genes/proteins. Later down the road, you will also study about human and mouse genomes.
Primary topics that you will cover in this bio informatics course are:
- Sequence Alignment
- Longest Path to Aligning DNA Strings
- Genome Rearrangements and Fragility
- Applying Genome Rearrangement Analysis to Find Genome Fragility
This is a 17-hour Coursera bioinformatics course that teaches us about the approaches for evolutionary tree construction and see how they can resolve quandaries. You will also be examining the old claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs. To do this you will be studying a result that claimed that peptides harvested from a T. rex fossil. And finally, you will dive into the study of popular bioinformatics software tools.
Core concepts that you will come across in this bioinformatics training course are:
- Constructing Trees from Distance Matrices
- Constructing Evolutionary Trees from Characters
- Decoding an Ideal Spectrum
- Resolving the T. rex Peptides Mystery
This Coursera bioinformatics course focuses on how you can infer which genes orchestrate various processes in the cell. You will also be studying similar algorithmic and machine learning techniques and learn about dividing data points into distinct clusters. Moreover, you will also look into the details of how algorithms can be applied to gene expression data. The total duration of the bioinformatics training course is around 9 hours.
A few key takeaways from this bio informatics course are:
- Advanced Clustering Techniques
- Algorithms in Population Genetics
- Clustering Algorithms
- Clustering as an Optimization Problem
This bioinformatics training course is dedicated to finding mutations lurking within DNA and proteins. The goal of the bioinformatics certificate program is to make you capable of taking small fragments of DNA from the individual and “map” them to the reference genome. The latter half of the Coursera bioinformatics course deals with identifying the function of a protein even if it has been bombarded by many mutations. This is a comprehensive 23-hour bioinformatics class online in length.
Major lessons to be uncovered from the bioinformatics training course are:
- The Burrows-Wheeler Transform
- Speeding Up Burrows-Wheeler Read Mapping
- Hidden Markov Models
- Profile HMMs for Sequence Alignment
The final Coursera bioinformatics course in the series is a capstone project bioinformatics training course where the focus is on the use of the BaseSpace cloud platform to apply standard bioinformatics software approaches to real biological data. Further, you will be tackling some fascinating but complex problems like tracking the source of a food poisoning outbreak, analyzing gene expression data on the tissue level and genome vs. whole exome sequencing.
Core lessons that you will learn from this bio informatics course are:
- Genome Sequencing Algorithms
- Tissue-level Gene Expression Analysis
- Genome And Exome Sequencing
Reviews by student:
Having a like-minded community makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger. Before Coursera, I thought online learning was lonely and unengaging.
This is a 19-hour beginner level bioinformatics certificate program offered by the University of California San Diego, where you will dive into how you can program (in Python) within a scientific setting. You will be studying algorithms for solving various biological problems and also about programming challenges so that you can implement these algorithms in Python. The bioinformatics online program does not require you to have any prerequisite knowledge for taking the Coursera bioinformatics course. Even if you have never programmed in Python before, the necessary resources have been provided in the form of “Just-in-Time” exercises from the Codecademy Python track.
Major topics that you will come across in this bioinformatics training course are:
- Where in the Genome Does Replication Begin
- Which DNA Patterns Play the Role of Molecular Clocks
- How Rolling Dice Helps Us Find Regulatory Motifs
- Python programming challenges
- Real biological problems
- Introduction To Finding Hidden Messages in DNA
Reviews by student:
A good course that gives an introduction to bioinformatics by applying programming in python. Overall, some of the challenges became difficult towards the end, but I definitely learned something.
This is a 6-month Micromasters program offered by the University Of Maryland where you will get to study how you can analyze DNA sequences to find mutations and anomalies. Further, you will get to study the important role of protein structure along with various statistical analysis tools, including R programming, to help you mine biological big data in this Edx bioinformatics course. You are suggested to devote at least 8-10 hours per week to the program to this Edx bioinformatics course.
The Micromaster’s program consists of 3 graduate level bioinformatics online courses:
This is an 8-week advanced level Edx bioinformatics course where you will learn how you can align and analyze DNA sequences. You would be doing this with the help of web and software based tools. The core objective here is to find mutations and other anomalies in genes and genomic sequences. Further, you will dive deep into the theory and algorithms behind DNA alignments along with practicing doing alignments manually in this bioinformatics class online.
A few things that you will learn in this Edx bioinformatics course are:
- Synthesis And Analysis Of Biological Big Data
- Theory Of Alignment Algorithms
- How Alignment Algorithms Operate
- Roles Mutations Play On Cellular Processes
The core objective of this Edx bioinformatics course is to help its students learn about proteins. Further, you will look into the important role a structure plays in their functions. Also, you will learn how to analyze and align protein sequences. There are in depth exercises in the Edx bioinformatics course to help you gain adequate practice in aligning protein sequences. You will also look into generating model structures of proteins with the help of softwares in this bioinformatics online program.
A few important aspects that you will come across in this Edx bioinformatics course are:
- Analyzing biological big data
- Aligning protein sequences
- Discover differences & determine structure
- Generating model structures of unknown proteins
The final Edx bioinformatics course in the series is all about learning the basics of R programming in order to analyze biological big data. With the help of it you will also learn to locate genes, perform simulations, and gauge the effect of specific markers in this bioinformatics online program. You would also look into the environment of the R language and see how you can use it to perform statistical analyses on biological big datasets.
A few important points covered in the Edx bioinformatics course are:
- Basic R Programming
- Applying Packages In The R Environment
- Determining Changes In Gene Expression
- Locating Genes In A Full Genomic Sequence
This is a comprehensive 10-month intermediate level bioinformatics class offered by the John Hopkins university whose objective is to help the students master the tools and techniques of data sequencing. Further, you will also look into various software implementation tools like Python, R, Bioconductor, and Galaxy in this bioinformatics online program. You are suggested to devote at least 2-hours per week to the bio informatics course.
There are 8 major bioinformatics online courses that sum up this specialization:
This is a 6-hour bioinformatics training course where you will get to learn about the basic biology of modern genomics. Also, you would come across the experimental tools that can be used for measurement. The all important area of Central Dogma of Molecular Biology has also been discussed in great detail within the bio informatics course. You will also be studying about the measurement of DNA, RNA, and epigenetic patterns in this bioinformatics online program.
Primary topics that you will come across in this bioinformatics class are:
- Measurement Technology
- Computing Technology
- Data Science Technology
- Sample Size and Variability
The second bioinformatics class in the series is of around 7 hours in length and focuses on teaching the students about the use of tools that are available in the Galaxy Project. Further, you will dive deep into the area of Genomic Big Data in this bioinformatics online program. The challenges of reproducibility are some of the other things that you will study in this bioinformatics class along with the Genomic intervals.
Key concepts that have been taught in the bio informatics course are:
- Working with sequence data
- RNA-seq & Running your own Galaxy
- Galaxy 101 & ChIP-Sequence Analysis with MACS
- Assembly Quantitation, and Differential Expression
The third bioinformatics class of the series is all about learning the basics of the Python programming language and the iPython notebook. The total duration of the bioinformatics class is around 6 hours.
A few key areas that this bio informatics course deals with are:
- Data Structures, Ifs and Loops
- Functions, Modules and Packages
- Communicating with the Outside
This is a 10-hour bioinformatics training course where you will look into the computational methods including various algorithms and data structures. Further, you will study how these can help us in analyzing DNA sequencing data. Later on in the bioinformatics class, you will also dive into the topic of DNA, genomics, and how DNA sequencing is used. Here you would be using Python to implement key algorithms and data structures.
Important lessons that you will uncover in the bio informatics course are:
- DNA sequencing, strings and matching
- Preprocessing, indexing and approximate matching
- Edit distance, assembly, overlaps
- Algorithms for assembly
The fifth bioinformatics certificate program in the series has been designed to teach you about various commands. You would be able to use these commands to manage and analyze directories, files, and large sets of genomic data.The Coursera bioinformatics course should take you no more than 12-hours to complete.
A few important lessons that you can expect to come across in the bioinformatics class are:
- Basic Unix Commands
- Sequence Representation and Generation
- Alignment & Variant Detection Tools
- Integrated Genomics Viewer
The focus of the sixth bioinformatics class in the series is to look into how you can use the tools from the Bioconductor project to perform an analysis on the genomic data. The total duration of the bioinformatics certificate program is approximately 8-hours.
Core concepts that you will come across in the bio informatics course are:
- IRanges, GRanges and R Base Types
- Biostrings Matching, BSgenome and rtracklayer
- Data Types, ExpressionSet, and biomaRt
- Bioconductor, Rsamtools, oligo, and limma
The penultimate bioinformatics certificate program of the specialization focuses on the statistics behind the most popular genomic data science projectsFurther, you will also be diving into the conceptual ideas of normalization, exploratory analysis, linear modeling, and testing, and multiple testing related to genomic studies. The bioinformatics class should not take you more than 8-hours to complete.
Important information that you stand to gain from the bio informatics course is:
- Achieving Reproducible Research
- Linear Regression in R
- Null and Alternative Hypotheses
- The Process for GWAS/WGS
The final milestone of the specialization is about completing a capstone project where you will get a chance to deploy the various tools and techniques that you’ve mastered over the bioinformatics online certificate courses of the specialization. You will be working on real data sets to perform analyses and prepare a report of our findings.
Core activities that you will be a part of in this capstone Coursera bioinformatics course are:
- Getting the data from SRA
- Understanding the scientific question
- Obtaining the raw data to perform analysis
- Exploratory & Statistical Analysis
Reviews by student:
The truth is that I love learning — I’m always seeking new opportunities to learn. The quality of content on Coursera always exceeds my expectations.
This is a beginner level 20-hour bioinformatics certificate program offered by the University of Toronto and is a part of the Plant Bioinformatic Methods Specialization. The focus of this bioinformatics online certificate course lies in employing existing bioinformatic resources. You will mainly be working on web-based programs and databases. The objective here is to access data to answer questions relevant to any biologist. Further, you will also be exploring some in-depth topics like multiple sequence alignments, phylogenetics, gene expression data analysis, and protein interaction networks. The bioinformatics certificate program doesn’t require you to know any programming but some understanding of basic molecular biology is encouraged.
Primary topics covered in the bioinformatics online certificate course are:
- Comparative Genomics
- Multiple Sequence Alignments
- Phylogenetic Analyses
- Selection Analysis
- ‘Next Gen’ Sequence Analysis
Reviews by student:
Great course. All lectures provide a biological context for the tools you learn in the labs. The labs themselves provide a great introduction to the many tools available for bioinformatic analysis.
This is a beginner level bioinformatics online certificate course offered by the Peking University, China. Here you will get to study about the concepts and computational methods. These methods will be related to the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics and their applications in biology. The objective of the bioinformatics certificate program is to help you gain knowledge and skills in bioinformatics that will be helpful to you in your future study and research. The total duration of the bioinformatics certificate program is around 24-hours.
Some of the main chapters that you will study in this bioinformatics online certificate course are:
- Sequence Database Search
- Bioinformatics Database and Software Resources
- Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)
- Functional Prediction of Genetic Variants
- Prediction and Analysis of Noncoding RNA
- Evolution function analysis of DNA methyltransferase
Reviews by student:
The course has given me a great way to learn Bioinformatics. I especially loved the mode of teaching and the case studies.
This is an extremely popular Bioinformatics Certificate from Harvard that usually takes around 1.5 years to complete. However, you are allowed to take up to 3 years to complete the bioinformatics certificate program. The primary objective of this bioinformatics online certificate course is to help you identify, compile, analyze, and communicate complex biological and genetic data. It also prepares you for application of this data in fields like human genome analysis, disease research, and drug discovery and development. To complete the certificate bioinformatics online program you must take four certificate bioinformatics online courses for graduate credit. These bioinformatics online courses are 1 molecular biology bioinformatics class online, 1 introduction to bioinformatics course, 1 programming bioinformatics class online and 1 elective bioinformatics class online.
Main topics that have been covered in this bioinformatics online certificate course are:
- Latest bioinformatics tools
- DNA sequencing and assembly
- Algorithms, data structures, string manipulation
- Security, software engineering, and web development
- Java, Python, R, C++, and SQL
- Genomics, medical informatics, and proteomics
The fundamental objective of this bioinformatics online certificate course is to help you learn about computational biology and the creation of dynamic molecular models. This is a graduate level bioinformatics class online where you will cover the algorithmic and machine learning foundations of computational biology. Further, you will also polish your combining theory with practice. Later down the road you will study the foundational topics in computational biology, and current research frontiers. And lastly, you will go through the fundamental techniques, recent advances in the field, and work directly with current large-scale biological datasets.
A few important things that you will come across in this bioinformatics online certificate course are:
- Biological sequence analysis
- Hidden Markov models
- EM / Gibbs sampling
- Bayesian networks
- Population genomics
- Human ancestry
This brings us to the end of a comprehensive list on the best bioinformatics online courses. Remember that bioinformatics holds the key to the future of medical science and thus it becomes imperative for you to give due diligence to its importance. A suggestion would be to focus on an in-depth specialization wherever possible, in place of a standalone bioinformatics online certificate course. And now we would take your leave and promise to come back with another awesome article. In case you have any kind of doubt related to the article above, please don’t hesitate to write to us. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Till then, keep trumping the odds and keep learning!