Master's program
BIOINFORMATICS AND
SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
International program in English for students with biological and computer science backgrounds
ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Launched in 2018, the Master's program "Bioinformatics and Systems Biology" is conducted by ITMO University's International Laboratory "Computer Technologies" in collaboration with Bioinformatics Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Our main goal is to train a new generation of specialists capable of developing and applying bioinformatics methods to solve nontrivial tasks in the field of fundamental and experimental biology.

Students of our Master's program will have a unique opportunity to:
- complete the full path from high-throughput data to computational analysis and to testable hypotheses in several research areas,
- work with some of the best computer science experts from ITMO University and biology specialists from all over the world,
- participate in internships at leading European and American research institutions and work on projects under the guidance of their employees, and a lot more.

The program provides students with comprehensive interdisciplinary training in bioinformatics and fundamental knowledge of systems biology as well as data processing.


TOPICALITY

Nowadays, when biological science is at the post-genomic stage of its development, almost every study involves generation of huge amounts of experimental data: genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and other omics data. Bioinformatics and systems biology as interdisciplinary fields that combine biology, computer science and statistics, develop methods and software tools for understanding various biological data, and focus on its correct analysis, integration and interpretation.

Bioinformatics methods are used to solve a wide range of problems from fundamental science to clinical practice and industry, including: 1) studying of evolutionary processes: the origin of species, mechanisms of antibiotic resistance genesis, etc.; 2) investigation of genetic diseases molecular mechanisms and diagnosis of such disorders; 3) structural modeling for the tasks of pharmacological industry; 4) determination of patient-specific therapy for cancer patients and patients suffering from other diseases; and others.


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES


Studying bioinformatics and systems biology offers students a variety of innovative professions that require expertise and skills in both life sciences and IT. Our graduates can pursue careers as bioinformatics experts in the fields of personalized medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, software development and others, or continue scientific track.

Employment places of our graduates
2 YEARS
Duration of study
120 ECTS
Total number of credits
ENGLISH
Language of the program
Specializations
Track 1 – Data Analysis in Biology and Medicine

We teach students with biological, medical and related backgrounds the skills of programming, data processing, and statistical analysis and how to apply them in different fields of bioinformatics.

Core courses: Statistics, Discrete Mathematics, Programming in Python, Systems Biology, Molecular Phylogenetics, Biotechnology, Metagenomics (more: Curriculum)


Track 2 – Algorithmic Bioinformatics

Designed for students with informatics, mathematics and other technical backgrounds who want to apply their knowledge to bioinformatics. Students will learn about genome assembly, analysis and sequencing, as well as develop software solutions to the many challenges of modern-day bioinformatics.

Core courses: Advanced Statistics, Algorithms and Data Structures, Molecular Biology, Systems Biology, Bioinformatics Algorithms, Optimization Methods, Advanced Machine Learning (more: Curriculum)
Research work
We believe that research work, and a Master's thesis in particular, is the fundamental component of education.
That is why our students work on research projects throughout all two years of studies in order to have a high-level diploma project as the outcome.

1 term: "introductory" team projects
2 term: individual course projects
3-4 term: work on Master's theses


Importantly, the student can either continue or change the project at any stage.

Course projects of different years
Master's thesis projects of different years
Graduates reviews
Natalia Petukhova
"The Master's program Bioinformatics and Systems Biology isn't just world-class professional education, but, most importantly, a radically fresh perspective and state-of-the-art approach to science. This program has completely changed my life as a scientist and allowed me to see biology from another angle: it's not just new technological solutions and approaches, but also an amazingly wide scientific purview and a range of future opportunities that I've acquired throughout my studies. I am very grateful to the program for having been able to learn from the representatives of the world's top science schools; they've shown me the high level of modern science, what to strive towards in the future, and how to keep up the bar set here at ITMO. I also want to add that this program has once again showed me not to be afraid of change, not to give up, and to overcome all challenges standing between me and my goals (as they say, 'through hardships to the stars'). One must always be open to new things!"
Oksana Ivanova
"We'd learn about a bioinformatics method and immediately practice it on data that, figuratively speaking, was just published yesterday. This approach convinced me that I am now able to solve many bioinformatics tasks – after a bit of thinking, of course. Knowing the primary approaches to processing biological data helps me properly plan experiments and set goals, as well as find ways to reach them, which I consider an absolute advantage as a researcher."
Mrinal Vashisth
"ITMO is an amazing place, and personally I think our program is one of the best. If you want to pursue a career as a Bioinformatician, and get to learn a lot of cool skills and work in applied research fields, it would be a tremendous help on your path. The program is not an easy one, but it is highly rewarding. We were taught by some of the best professors coming from institutes such as Broad, Max Planck and studied core modules in systems biology, sequencing data analyses, epigenomics, metagenomics, phylogenetics, proteomics and so on. To be honest, I only had a rudimentary idea about these fields and a little experience with sequence data analyses and programming. Two years forward, I feel like a Bioinformatician. I have learnt crucial skills here, not just as a researcher, but as a pupil of science. I feel extremely grateful to all the professors for making it an incredible journey. The student group is also amazing, I have made life long friendships here. Saint Petersburg is a beautiful city. It's vibrant and lively. And people here are friendly and helpful. Compared to other European cities, it is not very expensive, so I guess that's definitely a plus. I am sure that you will like both the program and the city. But of course the program more!"