MEIN30240 Bioinformatics

Academic Year 2019/2020

This module is relevant to students studying molecular biology from a wide range of degree courses. It comprises practical sessions, and completion of a mini-project, which are supported by lectures, online lectures and tutorial practical teaching. The following topics are covered (1) Accessing databases of molecules and biomedical literature (2) sequence analysis (3) Molecular sequence database searching (4) lining up related sequences and illustrating their relationships with trees (5) Navigating and interpreting databases of disease associations with genetic variants. Each student will be assigned a protein and complete a number of analysis steps for their mini-project report. Bioinformatics approaches will be used to assess the protein's potential contribution to cancer in a patient.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to identify and apply some of the standard methods in computational analysis of biosequences. They should understand why sequence regions are typically conserved or variable in populations and in evolution, and how that information may be applied. They should understand some of the challenges and solutions involved in dealing with large biological datasets, such as the problem of multiple testing across many molecular variants.

Indicative Module Content:

Protein and DNA sequence databases.
Sequence motifs.
Sequence alignment.
Trees based on similarities of sequences.
Analysing genome wide variation in genes.
Protein/gene networks.
Somatic mutation databases in cancer.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Computer Aided Lab


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Practicals in a computer lab with demonstrators helping. This is the most important aspect of learning.
Online lectures.
Independent study.
Optional group work with one other partner.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students taking this module will have successfully completed either BMOL20010 or GENE20010, or other modules with equivalent learning outcomes in molecular biology.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Bioinformatics (MDSA30240)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Mini-project Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: 4 computer practical sessions Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The first practical assignments are guided practicals to get you familiar, they tend to have quite structured format, often with answers that can be right or wrong. You will receive feedback in terms of results, possibly with comments, in Brightspace. This will help you get some confidence that you are building skills, assuming you are not just copying other peoples answers, in which case you will not learn a lot. The mini-project is quite different, because you must work independently on an individually assigned human protein and its gene, with a role in cancer. There are sometimes no right or wrong answers, this is assessing your higher-order analysis skills, to present data clearly and interpret it well. The only feedback is the final grade, but you can discuss points with demonstrators and faculty during practicals , which provides feedback as you go along.

Name Role
Professor Desmond Higgins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Peadar Ó Gaora Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Lucy Burkitt-Gray Tutor
Barbara De Kegel Tutor
Miss Gabriella Farries Tutor
Ms Olateju Idowu Tutor
Catherine Mahoney Tutor
Mr Jean Manguy Tutor
Gillian Mc Hugo Tutor
Ms Caoimhe O Brien Tutor
Mr Eoin O Cinneide Tutor
James O Connor Moneley Tutor
Ms Caoimhe O'Brien Tutor
Ms Alicia Smyth Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2 Mon 16:00 - 16:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 3, 4 Mon 17:00 - 17:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 16:00 - 16:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 10:00 - 10:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 11:00 - 11:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Thurs 16:00 - 17:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 2 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Fri 14:00 - 15:50