The educational concept includes:
I. Initiation of a new Master programme at the University of Potsdam (MSc Bioinformatics, start October 2008)
I. A Master Programme in Bioinformatics with focus on Systems Biology
A Master curriculum in Bioinformatics, with a focus on Systems Biology, was established. Detailed information is available via the web page
The programme spans four semesters (120 credit points). The first semesters include courses at the undergraduate level that allow students with different scientific backgrounds to achieve a common knowledge base (in total 18 credit points). Students with a background in biology visit courses in informatics (modules “Informatik für Naturwissenschaftler I/II” and “Rechner- und Netzbetrieb für Naturwissenschaftler”), students with a background in informatics visit courses in biology (modules “Funktionelle Biologie für Informatiker”, “Molekularbiologie / Evolutionsbiologie für Informatiker” and “Molekularbiologie / Proteinstrukturbiologie für Informatiker”). Semesters 2 and 3 offer courses in Bioinformatics (modules “Algorithmische und mathematische Bioinformatik”, “Statistische Bioinformatik”, “Bioinformatik biologischer Sequenzen”, “Profil- und Netzwerkanalyse”, and “Strukturelle Bioinformatik”) and courses in Systems Biology (modules „Einführung in die theoretische Systembiologie“, „Ausgewählte Methoden und Techniken der Systembiologie und Informatik“, „Grundlagen der experimentellen Systembiologie“). Further available modules focus on nutrigenomics (module „Nutrigenomik“) and model organisms and their analysis (module „Modellorganismen und Methoden der Genomforschung“). Semester 4 is reserved to work on the Master project (30 credit points).
The programme started in October 2008. The strong interdisciplinary curriculum is both a challenge and a chance. It is a challenge because the curriculum makes high demands, and it is necessary that the faculty provides intensive supervision and support. On the other hand, the curriculum offers a unique training for students with interest in both biology and bioinformatics, and the students learn to communicate and work in all the disciplines that account for Systems Biology.
II. A PhD programme in Systems Biology
A structured PhD programme in Systems Biology was implemented. Research is at the core of the GoFORSYS doctoral programme. The GoFORSYS doctoral programme provides intellectual and technical training through original research, interdisciplinary dialogue, and training of transferable skills. Doctoral candidates are recognized as highly skilled young researchers. The programme offers support regarding personal concerns.
Doctoral projects are discussed amongst the group leaders in frame of the graduate programme (ideally within 3 month after start). The respective group leader will introduce the new project. Two or three committee members are assigned within the first months of the doctoral work. After 12 and 24 months the student delivers a progress report and gives an annual oral presentation. The written report and oral presentation serve as information source for the thesis committee that discusses the progress, future goals, experimental plan, and publication strategy with the PhD student.
The doctoral candidates benefit from a wide range of teaching activities. These activities have two major aims:
The curriculum offers lectures, seminars, practical courses, and soft/transferable skill courses. The doctoral candidates can select activities which fit to their personal needs and scientific project, with guidance from their project leader and thesis committee. It is also possible to collect credit points in another institute, e.g. via lab visits and external courses. An emphasis is placed on providing interdisciplinary training that complements their university degree background, and that will extend their scientific skills to strengthen research and promote their career development.Current and planned courses are advertised via a Moodle server (http://moodle2008.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/).
III. Moodle@MPIMP and eLearning@GoFORSYS
Moodle is a course management system (CMS) - a software package designed to help educators easily create quality online courses. A Moodle server was installed for the GoFORSYS and IMPRS-PMPG doctoral programmes (http://moodle2008.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/). It is the central communication and organisation platform for teaching activities. It allows
An e-learning facility is in development. The aim of this facility is to provide digital courses that provide the basic knowledge in the disciplines relevant for Systems Biology. The content will be distributed via Moodle@MPIMP and other web pages.
For details please contact muessig-at-uni-potsdam.de