Doctor of Philosophy in Bioinformatics (PhD)

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Health and Medicine
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Bioinformatics
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science
 

Overview

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary program that combines the application of computer technology to the management and analysis of biological data. The result is that computers are being used to organize data generated from experiments into databases, develop new algorithms and software, and use this software for the interpretation and analysis of the data into meaningful biological information. For the past ten years, our PhD program has been training students to organize, visualize, analyze and interpret biological data. Students have access to world renowned bioinformaticians at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency, and have exposure to the latest technologies to develop their skills.

Strategic Program Objectives:

  • To build on British Columbia's reputation and excellence in bioinformatics.
  • To integrate bioinformatics into basic biology to further current research excellence in other life science sectors of the province.
  • To foster collaborations locally, nationally and internationally.

What makes the program unique?

The Bioinformatics PhD program integrates academic centres in computer science, statistics, molecular biology and biotechnology, with translational groups at hospitals and at the clinical interface. The innovative partnership among the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency allows students' access to experts in the field of bioinformatics, and exposure to original research and opportunities to complete significant practical work on real bioinformatics problems. Internships allow student mobility between Canadian and international universities, institutions and industries to further enhance collaborations among Canadian high-technology research groups in both the private and public sectors.

 

Requirements

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
22
21
22
21

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

Funding Sources

Applicants who are interested in the organization and management of data, the development of algorithms and software, and application of these approaches to questions in wide-ranging areas of biology may consider the Training Program in High-Dimensional Bioinformatics that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities.

Career Outcomes

12 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 12 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
McGill University
Stanford university
University of California - Santa Cruz
Harvard University
Simon Fraser University
University of California - Los Angeles
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Vancouver Prostate Centre
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Omicia
Scripps Research Institute
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Postdoctoral Fellow (3)
Independent Scientist
Senior Director of Bioinformatics
Assistant Professor
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

As biological datasets increase exponentially in both size and complexity, bioinformatics tools have central importance in fields and industries ranging from environmental management, forestry, aquaculture, and biofuels to personalized medicine, drug development, preventative medicine and gene therapy. Individuals who can analyuze and interpret large data sets or "big data" are highly sought after by both public and private sector employers.  Academic positions at Universities are widely available in all fields of study.

Ph.D. graduates from the program have gone on to pursue post-doctoral studies at Stanford, Harvard school of Medicine, Max Delbruck Centre in Berlin, Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, Ontario Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Santa Cruz, and locally at UBC and SFU.  One graduate is an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University and another is an assistant professor at the University of Dalhousie in Halifax, NS.

Alumni on Success

Benjamin Good

Job Title
Assistant Professor
Employer
The Scripps Research Institute

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20162015201420132012
Applications1667710
Offers55417
New registrations44316
Total enrolment3229282626

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 8 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 3.33 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.35 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 8 April 2016].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Abugharbieh, Rafeef (Medical image computing)
  • Accili, Eric (molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular pacemaking behavior )
  • Adams, Keith (Molecular evolution, genome evolution, and gene expression)
  • Aparicio, Samuel (Breast cancer, genome sequencing )
  • Birol, Inanc (bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, transcriptome analysis, next generation sequencing, cancer, Bioinformatics, sequence assembly, transcriptomics, gene regulation networks, high throughput informatics for big data)
  • Bohlmann, Jorg (plant biochemistry, forestry genomics, forest health, conifers, poplar, bark beetle, mountain pine beetle, natural products, secondary metabolites, terpenes, floral scent, grapevine, Conifer genomics Forest health genomics Mountain pine beetle, fungus, pine interactions and genomics Chemical ecology of conifer, insect interactions)
  • Brinkman, Ryan (Bioinformatics, flow cytometry, high throughput data analysis, data standars, GvHD biomarker identification, cluster identification)
  • Brooks-Wilson, Angela (human genetics, cancer genetics, cancer families, longevity, Super seniors, genetic susceptibility)
  • Brown, Carolyn Janet (Epigenetic control of gene expression, X-chromosome inactivation, Long non-coding RNAs, XIST RNA, Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation, DNA methylation)
  • Bryan, Jennifer Frazier (Statistics, Genomics and Experimental Evolution , Prostate cancer)
  • Cherkasov, Artem (Drug design; Bioinformatics, Molecular modeling; Proteomics; Artificial intelligence; Antibiotics )
  • Condon, Anne (Algorithms, Molecular Programming)
  • Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
  • Finlay, B Brett (Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it)
  • Friedman, Jan Marshall (Application of whole genome sequencing to diagnose genetic disease, Clinical genomics, Neurofibromatosis, Birth defects epidemiology)
  • Gardy, Jennifer (Infectious disease, genomics, science documentary television, epidemiology, Phylogenetics and molecular evolution, Tuberculosis, Metagenomics, Information visualization, Microbiology )
  • Goldowitz, Daniel (Genetic basis of brain disease, neurobiology of autism, Huntingtong's gene, mouse/mice epigenetics, gene regulatory network)
  • Hallam, Steven (methanogenesis, methane oxidation, methyl coenzyme M reductase, metagenomics, environmental microbiology, genomics, proteomics, microbial ecology, systems biology, archaea, energy, bioinformatics, Microbial communities, construction and interpretation of environmental genomic libraries, generation of computational tools and workflows for taxonomic and functional binning, population genome assembly, and comparative community analysis, development and functional screens to interrogate environmental genomic libraries for bioactive small molecules and biocatalysis)
  • Hancock, Robert E (Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides, Host Defence Peptides and Innate Immunity, Functional Genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Regulation of Antibiotic Resistance, Array Data, Self-promoted uptake hypothesis)
  • Hayden, Michael (Huntington's, disease progression, diabetes, coronary artery disease)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Casper Shyr
    "Human genome sequencing is now being used to discover the cause of genetic diseases. Dr. Shyr's research improves the way doctors interpret a patient's DNA, and presents a novel computational algorithm to analyze DNA data. Collaborating with the BC Children's Hospital, his research provides patients with access to personalized treatments." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Julie Chih-yu Chen
    "Dr. Chen studied Bioinformatics to examine gene regulation as it applies to biological hypotheses. Her work contributes to a better understanding of the hierarchical regulation of genes and the differential expression between the sexes. This work will further our understanding of diseases and phenotypes." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Emilia Lee Yian Lim
    "Dr. Lim studied gene and microRNA expressions in cancer. She discovered patterns that are associated with cancer development & treatment resistance. Her results can be used towards the design of diagnostic tests to identify patients who are unlikely to respond to standard therapy and may be better served with more aggressive & experimental therapies." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Andrew Roth
    "Dr. Roth developed statistical models for studying the genomes of cancer cells. These models have been widely applied in the cancer genomics community to study the evolution of tumours. This work contributes significantly to our ability to diagnose and treat cancer." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Daniel Lai
    "Dr. Lai used computer science to study how RNA molecules fold inside of the body. By reviewing the latest methods, he published new benchmarks and guidelines for the prediction of RNA structures. This knowledge can help researchers in finding and understanding novel RNA molecules within unexplored regions of the human genome." (May 2016)

Further Program Information

 

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January 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
29 September 2017
International Applicant Deadline
29 September 2017

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