Big Data Analysis In The Undergraduate Biology Curriculum.

Mark Gallo

Professor of Biology, Niagara University, NY

Large-scale data analysis has become a powerful tool in the biological sciences. Unfortunately the skills necessary for performing this research are not part of most undergraduate curricula. High throughput DNA sequencing has opened up a large number of new areas of study. Two outcomes are of particular note that are tractable studies for the undergraduate curriculum. First, biological diversity studies involving microbial sampling to understand the microbial community composition have become affordable. Second, the availability of DNA sequence from a vast array of organisms also allows one to search for genes in the databases and, due to DNA synthesis capabilities, create copies of these genes and express the resulting proteins. This presentation will describe the progress and pitfalls of incorporating primary research in bioinformatics and molecular biology in the classroom.