Dr. Sandra Porter to speak at Community College Day at BIO 2014


Dr. Sandra Porter, founder and president of Digital World Biology and longtime bioinformatics and biotech educator, will be speaking in the Community College Program at BIO 2014 in San Diego.  Dr. Porter's talk, "Bioinformatics for Biotechnicians" will focus on the bioinformatics skills that biotechnicians need to learn, such as designing and testing PCR primers, using Excel, and using the NCBI.

In addition to providing the vision for developing Molecule World™, and related iBooks for interactive teaching, Dr. Porter serves as a community development leader for Bio-Link and teaches workshops and on-line courses in bioinformatics. Dr. Porter’s insights for developing new kinds of educational tools have grown out of her experience in teaching biotechnology and working with bioinformatics software.

Description of the talk

Numerous types of biological data are stored in both public and private databases.  Technicians in the bioscience industry are called upon to access these databases, find the appropriate data, download and assemble these data into collections, and work with these data to achieve specific goals.  To accomplish these tasks, technicians need to know:  how to find specific data records and validate that the records are correct, how to work with different kinds of software tools to extract information and analyze the data, and how to manage the data once they’ve found it.  Additionally, to perform these tasks correctly and understand and validate the results, all of these tasks rely on a technician understanding the central dogma of molecular biology and the chemical properties of biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins.  During the past seven years, we have developed an on-line bioinformatics course at Austin Community College that accomplishes these goals.  Students learn about molecular structures, molecular sequences, genetic variation, and special topics, such as microarray analysis and Next Generation DNA sequence analysis by completing hands-on projects that utilize bioinformatics databases and software.  This course can be adapted to serve multiple purposes through the choice of unknown samples and special topics.

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