Online Master’s in Bioinformatics Programs

Bioinformatics is a specialty in the healthcare industry that focuses on solving complex biological problems. The National Human Genome Research Institute describes bioinformatics as a scientific subdiscipline involving computer technology to collect, store, analyze and disseminate biological data and information, such as DNA and amino acid sequences or annotations about those sequences.

This work aims to discover new types of biology and make predictions that can improve human health. The methods of computation used by bioinformatic scientists include mathematical modeling, analytical methods, and simulation.

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary specialty combining several different but complementary fields to solve complex biological problems. Some of these fields include biology, physics, biomedical engineering, chemistry, genetics, genomics, neurology, biostatistics, mathematics, and computer science.

Bioinformatics scientists break down the human body into small groups of cells involved in various types of complex processes. They study human DNA to understand the symptoms and causes of current diseases and predict future conditions. Bioinformatics scientists use cutting-edge technologies to do this. One of the most common techniques is called next-generation sequencing, a high-throughput sequencing (HTS) method.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regularly shares data on medical scientists’ occupational outlook, including bioinformatics scientists, among many other types of medical scientists. Opportunities for medical scientists are expected to grow 17 percent between 2021 and 2031, more than three times the average growth projected among all U.S. occupations.

The BLS (May 2022) lists a mean annual salary for medical scientists of $110,670 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $58,190 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $170,260. Typically a doctoral degree is required in biology or a related life science field for these positions, but some positions may accept a master’s degree.

A similar occupation category that also includes bioinformatics scientists is computer and information research scientists. This career pathway requires a master’s degree in computer science with coursework in a related field of study. For example, a biomedical scientist may have a master’s degree in computer science and substantial coursework in biology as well as laboratory science experience.

The BLS predicts that computer and information research scientist careers will grow at a rate of 21 percent between 2021 and 2031, creating 7,100 fresh new positions in that decade. Computer and information research scientists earn mean annual salaries of $155,880; most positions require a master’s degree.

People who choose this career path have strong scientific skills and a desire to help others through their research. Most have already worked in healthcare for several years. Since the profession typically requires at least a master’s degree, many schools now offer the opportunity to earn credentials online. This option is ideal for those looking to advance their career or change their course.

Featured Bioinformatics Programs
Johns Hopkins University - Advanced Academic Programs MS Bioinformatics View Full Profile

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Professors to Know in Online Master’s Programs in Bioinformatics

  • Albert-Laszlo Barabasi PhD, Northeastern University

    Dr. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is a distinguished professor and the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science at Northeastern University. He is also the director of the Center for Complex Network Research.

    Dr. Barabasi is well-known in bioinformatics as he consults with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a member of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He earned his doctorate degree in physics from Boston University and his master’s degree in theoretical physics from Eotvos University in Budapest, Hungary.

    He created and operated the Barabasi Laboratory to study how networks are formed, what they look like, and how they change. He discovered that specific natural networks follow a blueprint similar to those created by humans. This discovery created scale-free networks and dynamic network modeling, which have positively impacted research across every area where these networks exist.

  • Mgavi Elombe Brathwaite New York University

    Mgavi Elombe Brathwaite is the bioinformatics program manager and an academic adviser at the Tandon School of Engineering at NYU. He has more than 20 years of experience in bioinformatics, computational biology, and sequence analysis. Before coming on staff at NYU, he held positions across the public and private sectors at IBM's Center for Computational Biology, Columbia University's Genome Center, and the NIH, among others.

    As a reputable leader in next-generation sequence analysis, computational biology, and systems biology, Professor Brathwaite has been instrumental in developing the bioinformatics program at NYU and has published several articles and studies on bioinformatics. He obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Lincoln University, and his master's in plant genomics at Tuskegee University.

  • Sherry Ogg, PhD Johns Hopkins University

    Dr. Sherry Ogg is a senior lecturer at Johns Hopkins University Center for Biotechnology Education. She teaches or has taught courses on advanced cell biology; agricultural biotechnology; molecular biology; introduction to bioinformatics; and biofuels for Johns Hopkins' online advanced academic program in biotechnology.

    Dr. Ogg obtained her doctorate in animal science from the University of Maryland, her master’s degree in agricultural and animal science from California State University, and her bachelor’s degree in dairy science from Delaware Valley College. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Maryland.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd

As a contributor on MHAOnline, Rachel Drummond has brought her expertise in education and mindfulness to the healthcare management field since 2019. She writes about integrating innovation into healthcare administration, emphasizing the importance of mental and physical well-being for effective leadership and decision-making in the fast-paced world of healthcare management.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.