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Bioinformatics and Computational Biology are growing fields of research that are strongly entangled with genetics and other biosciences areas. Techniques involved in data generation and analysis, as well as the availability of software dedicated to a plethora of biological questions evolve quickly. Such a ...

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology are growing fields of research that are strongly entangled with genetics and other biosciences areas. Techniques involved in data generation and analysis, as well as the availability of software dedicated to a plethora of biological questions evolve quickly. Such a fast pace requires effective educational initiatives to bring bioinformatics knowledge within life sciences. Biological data analysis often requires scientific computing skills. Such skills may be gained through short-format fundamentals courses and workshops. Meanwhile, long-term courses better suit the needs of intermediate to advanced bioinformatics-related topics.

Several initiatives such as the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training (GOBLET) exist worldwide to popularize bioinformatics and computational biology, including effective training for trainers/teachers, development of materials and courses, workshops, as well as resources and technology. In addition to these initiatives, open communities like The Carpentries involved in development of short courses, workshops and materials can also deliver programming skills and data science to undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty members, or even bring computational thinking to highschool (which contributes in the long term to advances in bioinformatics as a field). Together, such initiatives contribute to worldwide spread of ethical aspects in science like reproducibility in research.

Although most educational initiatives usually occur ​in situ ​ , in either the long- or in the short term, online computational resources are also important in many aspects of development in the case it is designed to occur in online mode. For instance, during organization, for communication among organizers, during the delivery of the courses themselves, and in particular for educational purposes. The COVID-19 pandemics is the greatest example of selective pressure that made the community adapt and several educational initiatives were moved to online mode.

In this Research Topic, we welcome the submission of Original Research, Review, and Opinion articles that include a focus on educational initiatives on bioinformatics and computational biology, programming skills, or computational thinking in life sciences in either highschool, higher education and even for faculty. These can include the description of the organization and debrief of such initiatives, educational aspects, short- and long-term evaluation as well as their impact on education in bioinformatics. Analysis of experiences in highschool may also be included as long as the research focuses on the impact of educational initiatives on bioinformatics with applications within life sciences.

We would like to acknowledge M.Sc Renato Augusto Corrêa dos Santos , Campinas State University and Dr. Patricia Carvajal-López , EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute, have acted as coordinators and have contributed to the preparation of the proposal for this Research Topic.

Keywords: Bioinformatics, Computational biology, Education, Programming, STEM


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