The study of molecular substance of life and its interpretation in informatics.
Four billion years have passed since the first appearance of life on the earth, called the planet of water. Fifty years have passed since the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The human DNA genome is now almost mapped and it is the dawn of a new age in the biological sciences. In this epoch, the department of bioscience and bioinformatics was established in Keio.
It will be clear which part of a DNA is translated to certain proteins in each cell and how a life system emerges from those interacting proteins. The research activity of our department is to solve puzzles about life systems by physical description and molecular theoretical interpretation of knowledge in biology and molecular biology and to explain the solution in terms of informatics.
The aim of curriculum of our department is to train students as new types of scientists and engineers in biology and biotechnology as well as those who flourish in various areas of the world. We expect that they have new viewpoints on life which are much different from those of traditional biology. For that purpose, our department offers programs to give students competence not only for experiments but also for the use of computers.
Students are required to study physics, chemistry and mathematics which are the common ground of natural sciences and technology. They study in the second year three basic disciplines, that is, biology, chemistry, and physico-informatics on which the activities of our department are founded. Students are encouraged to proceed beyond the traditional frame of biology and they learn molecular theoretical view points of life, pictures of biopolymers on the basis of physics and chemistry, and information processing of biological databases by computers through practice in laboratories.
Advanced courses of biosciences and bioinformatics are offered by the staff of our department as well as instructors from other institutes for students of the third and fourth years. Students can systematically study biology from introductory course to advanced subjects which include biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, embryology, immunology, genome technology, and so on. In addition, study of fundamental principles of physics and chemistry are needed to learn reactions of enzymes, cell recognition by oligo-sugars and neuronal communication, which play substantial role in a system of life. They also study data mining and pattern recognition, subjects in informatics, as tools for apprehension of biological phenomena and functioning. The curriculum of our department is exceptionally extensive and the training unique and progressive.
The application of science and technology on the systems in living things and their functioning will start new fields of industry. Among them we can mention, for example, contribution to medical services and health care by development of medical science and pharmacy, production of high quantity of food and resources of clean energy, purification of environment and its monitoring, bioprocesses in chemical industry and so on. Those who finish our teaching program will take over leadership of such new areas of biosciences and biotechnologies.