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Home > Undergraduate > Curriculum > Concentrations - Fall 2011 > Science Informatics
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ITWS Concentration: Science Informatics

For those entering the program Fall 2011 semester & beyond

Contact Person:
David Spooner (Biology Track)
Ron Bailey (Chemistry Track)
Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer (Ecology Track)


Biology Track:
Biological research today is generating large quantities of data and there is much to be learned from careful analysis of this data to better understand complex biological systems and functions and to facilitate development of new medical methodologies and drugs. Students in this track learn how to use computational and information systems to improve our understanding of the biological world.

Chemistry Track:
The drive in pharmaceutical research currently (and most certainly in the decades to come) is the human genome project (HGP). The information stored in our 3 billion base pairs is a "gold mine" for new molecular targets to treat diseases with huge unmet therapeutic need (e.g., AIDS, cancer). Millions of gene sequences will translate into thousands of high throughput screens (HTS). Thousands of HTSs will require millions of new chemicals. Millions of new chemicals will require millions of inputs regarding structure, purity, diversity, etc. There is no way the technology currently available in the industry can cope with these numbers. With the advent of combinatorial chemistry (CombiChem) there is unprecedented demand for synthetic chemists as well as CombiChem and chemical information scientists. A perusal of the chemistry trade publication Chemical & Engineering News will verify this demand.

The volume of data that will derive from HGP HTS CombiChem is enormous and Rensselaer, though its ITWS program, can help the industry and humankind by supplying the chemical and biological scientists to generate, handle, and analyze these data. There will be a "magic bullet" some day soon for treating cancer and it will come from the HPG HTS CombiChem approach.

Ecology Track:
The Ecology Track is designed to serve students with ecological interest in topics ranging from global change to water quality. The expansive environmental datasets that exist as well as new kinds of environmental and ecological data emerging from the application of more sophisticated and sensitive instrumentation, requires scientists that have the ability to process this information in meaningful ways. The application of information technology for addressing ecological issues using extensive datasets describes the emerging field of “ecoinformatics”. In this unique program students will take advantage of the basic Information Technology & Web Science core that requires courses including data structures and systems, probability and statistics, as well taking courses in biology and ecology.

Required Courses
Semester I Semester II

ITWS-1100 Introduction to Information Technology and Web Science

MATH-1010 Calculus I

CSCI-1100 Computer Science I

CHEM-1100 Chemistry I (Science Elective)

CSCI-1200 Data Structures

ITWS-1220 IT and Society

CHEM-1200 Chemistry II (Science Elective)

HASS Elective (2)

Semester III Semester IV

ITWS-2110 Web Systems Development

One of: (1)
- ECSE-2610 Computer Components and Operations and ENGR-2350 Embedded Control
- CSCI-2500 Computer Organization

Track Option 1

MATH-1020 Calculus II (Math Elective) (1)

ITWS-4200 Web Science

ITWS-2210 Intro to Human Computer Interaction

One of: (1)
- ECSE-2660 Computer Arch, Networks and OS
- CSCI-2300 Introduction to Algorithms

Track Option 2

Semester V Semester VI

ITWS-4310 Managing IT Resources

One of:
- ITWS-2961 Creativity and IT
- ITWS-496X IT for Arts and Performance

Track Option 3

Track Option 4


ITWS Elective (one of):
- CSCI-4380 Database Systems
- MGMT-4170 Data Resource Management

Track Option 5

HASS Elective (2)

Free Elective

Semester VII Semester VIII

One of: (3)
- ITWS-4100 Information Technology and Web Science Capstone (Professional Track)
- ITWS-4990 Senior Thesis (Research Track)

Track Option 6

HASS Elective (2)

Free Elective

Track Option 7

Track Option 8

HASS Elective (2)

Free Elective

ITWS-4990 Senior Thesis (Research Track Only)

Students must satisfy an 8-credit communication requirement. See your advisor for details.

(1) Select either the three-course ECSE sequence or the two-course CSCI sequence. If the ECSE sequence is chosen, ENGR-2350 will replace one free elective slot. Move ITWS-2961/ITWS-496X to Semester VII with a free elective. If the CSCI Sequence is chosen, your math elective in Semester III must be MATH-2800 Introduction to Discrete Structures. Please see your advisor regarding the math course required in Semester III . If a student is planning to apply to the co-terminal MS in IT program, they need to select the CSCI sequence.

(2) See HASS requirements

(3) Co-terminal students would replace ITWS-4100 Information Technology and Web Science Capstone with ITWS-4980 Special Projects course which will be the culminating experience.

Track Option 1 (one of):
CHEM-2250 Organic Chemistry I (Biology Track)
CHEM-2250 Organic Chemistry I (Chemistry Track)
BIOL-1010 Introduction to Biology (Ecology Track)

Track Option 2 (one of):
BIOL-2120 Intro to Cell and Molecular Biology (Biology Track)
CHEM-2260 Organic Chemistry II (Chemistry Track)
BIOL-2120 Intro to Cell and Molecular Biology (Ecology Track)

Track Option 3 (one of):
CHEM-4760 Molecular Biochemistry I (Biology Track)
CHEM-4760 Molecular Biochemistry I (Chemistry Track)
Ecology Elective

Track Option 4 (one of):
BIOL-2500 Genetics and Evolution (Biology Track)
CHEM-4530 Modern Techniques in Chemistry (Chemistry Track)
BIOL-4850 Principals of Ecology (Ecology Track)

Track Option 5 (one of):
BIOL-4620 Molecular Biology I (Biology Track)
CHEM-4770 Molecular Biochemistry II or CHEM- 4300 Medicinal Chemistry (Chemistry Track)
BIOL-2500 Genetics and Evolution (Ecology Track)

Track Option 6 (one of):
BIOL-4540 Bioinformatics I (Biology Track)
CHEM-496X Computational Chemistry (Chemistry Track)
ERTH-4500 Earth's Climate: Past, Present and Future (Ecology Track)

Track Option 7 (one of):
BIOL-4550 Bioinformatics II (Biology Track)
CHEM-4330 Drug Discovery (Chemistry Track)
BIOL-4XXX Ecoinformatics (Ecology Track)

Track Option 8 (one of):
#BIOL-4720 Molecular Biology Laboratory (Biology Track)
CHEM-4XXX Chemistry Informatics (Chemistry Track)
Ecology Elective (Ecology Track)

Ecology Elective: (one of):
BIOL-4700 Freshwater Ecology
IENV-4700 One Mile on the Hudson River
ENVE-6150 Limnology
BIOL-XXXX Experimental Environmental Microbiology
BIOL-YYYY Molecular Methods for Ecological Studies

A student can choose the Biology Track, Chemistry Track or the Ecology Track for all track options. Courses cannot be intermixed between the tracks.

#Swap with free elective in semester VII

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