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CNIO and ISCIII to co-organise the 2019-2020 master’s programme in bioinformatics and personalised medicine


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Personalised medicine, considered to be a powerful approach to diseases such as cancer, relies strongly on bioinformatics. It involves the integration and systematic analysis of large amounts of data. The Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) is a pioneering institution in the field of translational bioinformatics, having implemented readily available computing methods to explore treatment approaches targeting each patient’s individual genetic alterations. Also, with bioinformatics jobs currently in high demand, CNIO focuses on training professionals specialising in this field.

CNIO and Escuela Nacional de Sanidad of the National Institute of Health Carlos III (ENS-ISCIII) are co-organising, once again this year, the ISCIII Master’s Programme in Bioinformatics, Personalised Medicine and Health. The course is open to medical doctors, biologists and biotechnologists, among other professions in the life sciences who are interested in the analysis of mass-sequencing results. Mathematicians, statistics experts and engineers interested in applying informatics to health-related problems can apply for admission as well.

This ENS-ISCIII master’s programme was established in 2002. It was one of the first in Spain to offer training to bioinformatics professionals and computational biologists. Two years ago, the programme’s coordinators revised the curriculum to meet the growing demand for experts in bioinformatics in the healthcare industry, while laying the foundations for personalised and precision medicine. It is the only master’s programme in bioinformatics of this kind in Spain.

The programme’s directors are Fátima Al-Shahrour, Head of the Bioinformatics Unit at CNIO, and Alfonso Valencia, ICREA Professor and Director of the Life Sciences Department at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). “More than 200 students have got our master’s degree,” says Al-Shahrour, “and it was very easy for them to get into the labour market; they got jobs in research centres, companies or hospitals.” Because, as Valencia points out, “there is an increasing demand for experts in the computing techniques required to handle genomic datasets for the medicine of the future.

In order to satisfy the demand for highly qualified professionals, the master’s programme includes these courses: Clinical Genetics, Introduction to Clinical Research, Programming Tools for Handling Medical Data, and Analysis and Interpretation of Multiomics Data. Bioinformatics seminars are delivered by national and international experts in bioinformatics applied to personalised medicine and health. The master’s programme academic coordinators in Madrid are Tomás di Domenico and Gonzalo Gómez, researchers from the Bioinformatics Unit at CNIO.

The deadline to submit applications is 15 July. The 2019-2020 academic year starts in October 2019 and ends in May 2020, and includes 510 training hours. The first term provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge, and the final project is carried out in health centres or biotech companies. In addition to the Madrid campus, there will be another in Barcelona. Besides CNIO, ISCIII and BSC, other master’s programme’s partners are the Sociedad Española de Biotecnología (SEBiot), Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and IDIBAPS/Hospital Clínic.

For further information, please visit https://masterbioinformatica.com/

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