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Bioinformatics, B.S.

Bioinformatics is a growing field that uses computer science to help researchers understand biological data. Experts create algorithms, databases and artificial intelligence to generate knowledge and insights into everything from genetics to the development of medicines. Bioinformaticians are working to combat major congenital and transmittable diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s and malaria.

As a Whitworth bioinformatics major, you will develop a set of cross-disciplinary skills and knowledge from the fields of computer science, molecular biology, biochemistry, mathematics and medicine. With the potential to use your degree to fight disease, you will be prepared to serve humanity in tangible and meaningful ways.

Why major in bioinformatics at Whitworth?

  • Conduct research with professors. Students are encouraged to complete research opportunities with their professors as part of the major's strong research program.
  • Learn from an innovative and evolving curriculum that includes recently added courses like Genomics.
  • Be prepared to adapt to a changing world by equipping yourself with skills and knowledge from multiple disciplines.
  • Take courses in Robinson Science Hall, Whitworth's landmark academic building that features state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation.
  • Have fun and build community with fellow students. The mathematics & computer science department hosts several parties each year, including a Christmas party hosted by faculty and a Pi Day party.
  • Connect your faith or worldview to your learning through classroom discussions of social and ethical issues.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our bioinformatics grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Bioinformaticians can pursue a broad array of career and educational paths. Jobs are available for programmers, data analysts and, with graduate training, senior-level scientists and researchers at private and public research institutions. Whitworth grads seeking advanced degrees are well-suited for programs in bioinformatics, computer science, computational chemistry and other related fields.

Recent job placements include:

  • Andrew Dodge, biostatistician, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • Danjuma Quarless, senior scientist – computational genomics, AbbVie, North Chicago, Ill.

Our recent bioinformatics grads further their studies in top programs at institutions including:

  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Washington, Seattle

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Perform cutting-edge research with professors who are working to solve diseases like cancer and celiac disease. Several faculty members in the computer science, chemistry and biology departments are active in research, and they work with students on projects that require the use of bioinformatics skills. This research occurs both during the school year and over the summer.
  • Present your research at professional society conferences or events for students like the Murdock College Science Research Conference and the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference.
  • Apply for a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Whitworth science and math majors have recently completed highly competitive REUs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Maine.
  • Join an active, student-led ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Club that holds events most months and performs well in programming competitions. 

Pack your bags!

Whitworth faculty lead Jan Term study abroad programs in all of the subject areas that comprise the bioinformatics major. Study computer science through the Technology & Culture program, offered every other year in countries like Ireland, England, Wales, India, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Travel throughout Europe on the Math History program or the Chemistry History and Art program. Or, serve on a medical mission to Guatemala, offered through the biology department.

Ask our faculty

Kent Jones

Ask Kent

Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Kent Jones' areas of expertise are bioinformatics and computer engineering.

Ask Deanna

Professor of Chemistry Deanna Ojennus' area of expertise is structural protein biology.

Ask Aaron

Associate Professor of Biology Aaron Putzke specializes in molecular biology and genetics.

What related majors can I explore?