Bioinformatics is a broad, interdisciplinary field, and we provide two types of graduate education programs to meet the specific needs in different schools and departments. One is an advanced program for graduate students at the Bioinformatics Center, who would become highly trained specialists in both academia and industry. The other is an introductory program for graduate students at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who can now select bioinformatics as a minor field.
Advanced program for specialists
In 2002 the Japanese Society for Bioinformatics (JSBi) announced its first version of the recommended education curriculum. Based on this curriculum, the Kyoto University Bioinformatics Center, in collaboration with the Human Genome Center of the University of Tokyo, initiated a series of courses, which are given simultaneously in the two centers using the video conferencing systems. These courses are also available on the Web through the e-learning system that includes WebCT and a video library. An additional component of our advanced education program is the collaboration with Boston University and Humboldt University Berlin. We exchange students for internship and jointly organize annual workshops. The advanced education program is mostly supported by the special coordination fund for promoting science and technology from the Ministry of Education, but the workshops have been organized under the 21st Century COE program.
Introductory program for non-specialists
For graduate students in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, bioinformatics is a practical discipline. The introductory program offers a practical guide to the databases and computational tools currently available. A selection of the courses based on the JSBi curriculum, which can also be taken in the main campus of Kyoto University through the video conferencing system, is used to approve credits for the bioinformatics minor. In addition to the graduate education, the 21st Century COE program has helped to introduce bioinformatics-related courses in the undergraduate education of pharmaceutical sciences.