Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Maria Paola Turina

  • Credits 6

  • SSD BIO/10

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Bioinformatics (cod. 8020)

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student acquires expertise in designing, implementing and curating data bases. The student will also be trained on the major biologically and medically oriented public data bases and how to retrieve and extract information for problem solving. Major tools accessible from specific data bases will be also utilized in order to facilitate information retrieval and data analysis.

Course contents

Introduction to databases; structure, contents, general features.

Overview and training on the NCBI databases: Genbank, Refseq, dbSNP, Gene, PubMed/MeSH, OMIM, MMDB, CCD.

Overview and training on the UniProt database.

Overview and training on the molecular structure database PDB at RCSB. Training on the molecular visualization software Rasmol.

Overview and training on the EnsEMBL Genome database.


"Introduction to Bioinformatics", Arthur Lesk, Oxford University Press.
Online materials and other suggested readings will be indicated during the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures and practical activities in the informatics laboratory.

Assessment methods

The exam at the end of the course aims at assessing the achievement of the main learning objectives of the course:

  • Knowledge of the main public biomedical databases and of their content.
  • Knowledge of the main information retrieval systems available on the web.

The written test will comprise a few problems of information retrieval and information processing, to be solved in class. The final score will be based on the average of the marks obtained by the students in the given problems and on their oral discussion.

Teaching tools

Video projector, PC with internet connection, informatics laboratory.
Slides of all the lectures will be available as PowerPoint files.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Paola Turina