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Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Web site of the Molecular Science Student Workbench project for bioinformatics education. Since you have come to this site, you are probably aware that bioinformatics has become a critically important area of biology. As a science, biology has always been driven by information, such as extensive field observations and careful experiments on organisms.

In the last couple of decades, a different kind of information has become critically important. Advances in biochemistry, molecular biophysics, and bioengineering have resulted in the ability to gather a veritable flood of data about molecular sequences in a large variety of species, including humans. At the same time, computer scientists have joined with molecular biologists to develop sequence databases and analysis programs, essentially programs that "break" the code of life, to transform sequence data into knowledge that can be applied to all areas of biology and to applications such as medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and environmental science. In order to break the code, these workers have created a whole new scientific discipline, bioinformatics.

This Web site is dedicated to education about this scientific discipline. Hopefully it will meet important needs for you.

  • If you are an interested citizen, you will find here introductions to the basic concepts and significance of bioinformatics.
  • If you are a biology teacher or faculty, you will find here bioinformatics exercises that you and your students can incorporate into your teaching, exercises that can be done on any computer with an internet connection, at home or in school.
  • If you are a student, you will find here knowledge and training that will enable you to do independent explorations in bioinformatics to enrich your formal class work.
  • If you are an experimental or field biologist, you will find an introduction to the use of bioinformatics tools to augment your experimental or observational work.
  • If you are a senior researcher whose laboratory needs to use bioinformatics, you will find here resources for introducing workers in your laboratory to the use of bioinformatics tools.

Welcome, and please let us know how you find the site, and what we can do to maximize its ability to work for you.

Eric Jakobsson
Founder, Molecular Science Student Workbench Project

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About MSSW

The goal of this project is to promote the use of molecular data in the identification and exploration of biological problems with an evolutionary perspective throughout undergraduate biology curricula. This will be accomplished by providing undergraduate faculty and students access to the powerful state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools currently in use by the research community transformed to afford a cognitively supportive environment. These products will enable undergraduate students to investigate current problems in biology using molecular biology tools and skills. The objectives of the project are:

  • Create the Molecular Science Student Workbench, an educational front-end to the powerful suite of tools comprising the Biology Workbench for use by undergraduate students and instructors
  • Develop, test, evaluate and disseminate supportive inquiry-based curricular materials for diverse areas of biology nationwide, and
  • Establish a community of inquiry, with scientists, educators and biology students using advanced science concepts and Workbench tools which will sustain, support and further disseminate the use of research tools within education.

The Biology Workbench is widely recognized as a significant bioinformatics resource because it provides a suite of interactive tools which draw on a host of biology databases and allows users to compare molecular sequences using high performance computing facilities, visualize and manipulate molecular structures, and generate phylogenetic hypotheses. The Biology Student Workbench will bring the advanced computational infrastructure used by today's scientists to any student desktop machine with a web browser. This access to a multiplicity of research analysis tools and data sources will provide a rich environment for promoting student inquiry.

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Contact Us

Molecular Science Student Workbench
Website: http://bsw-uiuc.net/
Email: bsw@ncsa.uiuc.edu

Molecular Science Student Workbench Team
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1205 W. Clark St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Project Director
Eric Jakobsson
Email: jake@ncsa.uiuc.edu

Web Design
Ann Chen
Email: cchen63@uiuc.edu

National Center for Supercomputer Applications
San Diego Supercomputer Center

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©2008 Molecular Science Student Workbench.