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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James F. Brinkley Iii
MEDED 534
Seattle Campus

Biology and Informaticists

A computing and information oriented treatment of the core concepts of human biology, addressing structure and function at three levels or organization: organism, cell, and gene. Each level includes examples of key anatomic and physiologic concepts, presented from a computational perspective and with the use of electronic resources. Offered: A.

Class Description

The goals of the course are: 1. To introduce or review the core concepts of classical and modern biology in a way that permits a student to communicate with research biologists and to learn more about specific research areas in biology. 2. To understand the basic information associated with these core areas, the informatics research issues that are associated with representing and managing this information, and example current informatics research efforts to deal with these issues. 3. To begin to prepare the student to work on interdisciplinary research or development teams involving basic biomedical science and informatics.

One week per biological topic, moving down and then up the structural hierarchy from organs to molecules and back to organs. The first (Monday) session is generally a lecture by a biologist expert in the area, and includes readings from standard biology textbooks or review articles. In the second (Wednesday) session specific informatics research papers will be read and discussed relating to the associated Monday topic. Working systems will be examined where appropriate. This session will involve significant student participation.

Recommended preparation

The primary audience for this course is students in the graduate program in Biomedical and Health Informatics who have background in computing, information sciences, or mathematical sciences, with some but not extensive background in biology. However, very little computer science, mathematics or biology background will actually be needed in this course, so students with only minimal background in these areas (such as undergraduates) often do well. Students with strong biology backgrounds may find this course of interest as well since it introduces informatics research that they may not have been exposed to in their biology coursework.

Class Assignments and Grading

Readings from standard biology books for the first Monday biology lecture, research papers and occasionally book chapters or review papers for the Wed informatics session. Each student will be asked at least once to present the assigned informatics research papers or working systems for a given Wednesday session, and to initiate the discussion.

One midterm, one final project, class presentations (roughly equal weighting) and class participation (smaller but not insignificant weighting).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Class Website
Last Update by James F. Brinkley Iii
Date: 07/30/2004