MHC Hosts Bioinformatics Workshop May 10-11

Posted: April 27, 2006

Mount Holyoke College is joining with Bates College in hosting a bioinformatics workshop May 10-11 taught by the staff of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine.

The two colleges have received a grant of $65,000 to fund the development of teaching tools in bioinformatics--the use of computing technology in biological research, such as gene mapping.

This workshop will introduce the genetic analysis, research, and educational tools publicly available on the NCBI web site. These tools consist of extensive educational resources appropriate for students at different stages of their education, including an introduction to the Human Genome Project, and very powerful computing tools for biological research.

The lecture and accompanying hands-on introduction to these Web-based tools is open to all participants: students, researchers, faculty, librarians, and staff of the local colleges and other interested individuals. The workshop is free but reservations are required. Registration forms and more details about the workshop can be found by contacting Mary Glackin, instructional technology consultant in LITS, at

This workshop is the first component of a collaboration between Mount Holyoke and Bates in Lewiston, Maine, funded by a $65,000 grant from the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE). NITLE is a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of digital technology to enrich liberal arts education. The grant will support a three-part program that will enable faculty, staff, and students from Bates, Mount Holyoke, and other schools to develop course materials that make bioinformatics resources accessible to students.

A retreat at Bates in June will allow faculty, information-technology staff, and students from several schools to adapt information from the NCBI workshop for use in specific courses. The aim is to develop "toolkits" that will introduce these resources to undergraduate students. The third piece in the program is the publication of these teaching tools for broad academic use.

The two colleges applied for $35,000, but NITLE was impressed enough by the proposal that it offered an additional $30,000. Where participation in the Bates retreat program was originally intended to be limited to New England schools, the additional funds have allowed Mount Holyoke and Bates to give the retreat a national scope.

Related Links:

Bioinformatics in the Undergraduate Curriculum
Registration Forms and More Details About the Workshop

National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education