Traditionally bioinformatics tools and training programs have focused on the life science audience. Though heterogeneous, the needs of the life science audience are at least fairly well understood. Driven by the impact of technology in diverse areas, bioinformatics is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and in parallel so too are the audiences seeking bioinformatics training. Audiences as disparate as physicians and lawyers, industry and even the general public, previously without real need of bioinformatics skills, are now pursuing an understanding and skill set in bioinformatics.
These new audiences represent an exciting new challenge for bioinformatics training programs. Each audience brings a specific training need and a mix of learning styles. Through a series of presentations and discussions, this workshop aims to bring awareness to the bioinformatics training needs of these new audiences and to provide a platform for sharing training strategies and challenges experienced by various programs reaching out to these diverse audiences.
This workshop consisted of presentations on the topics of 1) how a medically trained audience thinks and learns about bioinformatics and the opportunities for new bioinformatics tools for the clinical setting; and 2) opportunities and strategies for providing bioinformatics training to an engaged, savvy public.
Part A: Biomedical informatics training in the era of translational medicine (2:10pm-2:35pm)
Speaker: Russ Altman, Stanford University, United States
The Stanford Biomedical Informatics (BMI) program has provided training in informatics applied to biology and medicine since 1982, and has more than 100 PhD and MS graduates. The program has evolved to support a broad range of biomedical informatics interests including: bioinformatics, clinical informatics, imaging informatics. Most recently "translational bioinformatics" has become an area of great interest among students. In this talk, I will briefly summarize the key features of the Stanford BMI curriculum and student program, and the key core classes that are taught by our faculty. I will discuss the evolving interests and backgrounds of applicants to our program. We have built a distance MS degree and are experimenting with other remote learning technologies. Finally, I will review the outcomes for our students, and summarize where our alums have landed and what they are doing.
Part B: Bioinformatics for the Clinical Audience (2:40pm-3:05pm)
Speaker: Donna Slonim, Tufts University, United States
Donna Slonim is a translational researcher who has taught bioinformatics to present and future clinicians in several contexts. She will speak about successful translational collaborations and about bioinformatics training for doctors. In particular, she will describe her own experiences in designing bioinformatics courses for undergraduates interested in medicine, and she will discuss the changing needs for pre-medical quantitative education at the undergraduate level.
Part C: What should everyone know about bioinformatics? (3:10pm-3:35pm)
Speaker: Hienke Sminia, Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre, Netherlands
Hienke Sminia will share her experiences with activities and exhibits for the general public (from ages 5 to 99). She focuses on the content suitable for the different age-groups and settings, as well as opportunities to engage this audience in bioinformatics.
Part D: Bioinformatics for the Public Eye (3:40pm-4:05pm)
Speaker: Winston Hide, Harvard School of Public Health, United States
Winston Hide maintains a lively blog on genomics and bioinformatics related issues for the public audience. Dr. Hide will speak on strategies used to engage the public in genomics and informatics understanding.