82312 - Bioinformatics

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biotechnology (cod. 8005)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student is familiar with computational methods and tools for the analysis of biological data. The student acquires knowledge of the primary on-line resources and databases, and how to retrieve the needed information. The student knows how to gather and study protein and nucleic acids sequences and structures, and how to extract functional leads from them.

Course contents

The course includes 4 CFU of frontal lectures and 2CFU of practicals


Frontal lectures (4CFU):

  • Computational aspects of biology: the sequence/structure to function relationship of nucleic acids and proteins
  • Algorithms for analysis and comparison of nucleic acids and proteins
  • Approaches for the functional characterisation of nucleic acids and proteins
  • Phylogenetic trees inference
  • Major databases and resources
  • The Protein Data Bank (PDB)
  • Protein structure investigation
  • The protein folding problem and its solutions
  • The structure-to-function relationship

Practicals (2CFU)

The practicals will focus on applying the theoretical part for solving problems related to the relationships among sequence, structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids. The major databases for biological data will also be explored.


Textbook: "Fondamenti di Bioinformatica" from Helmer Citterich, Ferrè, Pavesi, Romualdi, Pesole, published by Zanichelli. Additionally, data base search, on line supports, selected reviews will be employed.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures and practicals

Assessment methods

The final assessment verifies the candidate's skill on the topics discussed during the course, including the laboratory activities.

The final assessment includes a written test and an optional oral exam. The maximum grade is 30 points. The grade will be averaged with grades from the other sections of the C.I. (Corso Integrato).

Teaching tools

PC, internet, videoprojector, board. Bioinformatic laboratory at the Biotecnology Education Center at the Battiferro didactic center.

Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Ferrè