The primary objective of our biometry (statistical) research efforts is to help all biological researchers obtain valid answers to their research questions. The unavoidable variability inherent to biological and physical experimentation must be separated from known sources of variation in order to evaluate and interpret results. As an example, biometry is important in risk assessment and management approaches to integrating agronomic, sociological, and statistical aspects in determining the optimal rate of fertilizer usage.
Bioinformatics is a new discipline that addresses the need to manage and interpret the data that is being massively generated by the "omic" revolution (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.). This discipline represents the convergence of biology, computer sciences, statistics, and information technologies, and encompasses analysis and interpretation of biomolecular data, modeling of biological phenomena, and development of algorithms and statistical approaches. Bioinformatics is important to the crop sciences because it plays an important role in the management and exploitation of microbial, plant and animal genomic resources.
Opportunities for Study
The biometry and bioinformatics group is an integral part of the Department of Crop Sciences and of the greater computational biology and statistical community of the University of Illinois. The biometry area is ideal for those with a background in applied statistics and a special interest in crop sciences or a crop sciences degree with strong emphasis on biometry. The bioinformatics area is ideal for those with a background in molecular biology, computer science or statistics and a special interest in genomics, bioinformatics, and systems biology or a crop sciences or bioinformatics degree with strong emphasis on bioinformation.
A person with a degree in biometry or bioinformatics alone or in addition to a subject matter area in crop sciences generally finds excellent job opportunities in universities, government, and industry. Upon completion of the graduate program, the student may find a position as a researcher, teacher or consultant, or any combination thereof. Our programs, including the MS in Bioinformatics option, provides advanced training in biomolecular, statistics and information systems and diverse job opportunities in academia, government and the private sector, especially in areas with a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agrochemical and agrobiological focus.