Barriers to integration of bioinformatics into undergraduate life sciences education: A national study of US life sciences faculty uncover significant barriers to integrating bioinformatics into undergraduate instruction

Autoři: Jason J. Williams aff001;  Jennifer C. Drew aff002;  Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez aff003;  Srebrenka Robic aff004;  Elizabeth Dinsdale aff005;  William R. Morgan aff006;  Eric W. Triplett aff002;  James M. Burnette, III aff007;  Samuel S. Donovan aff008;  Edison R. Fowlks aff009;  Anya L. Goodman aff010;  Nealy F. Grandgenett aff011;  Carlos C. Goller aff012;  Charles Hauser aff013;  John R. Jungck aff014;  Jeffrey D. Newman aff015;  William R. Pearson aff016;  Elizabeth F. Ryder aff017;  Michael Sierk aff018;  Todd M. Smith aff019;  Rafael Tosado-Acevedo aff020;  William Tapprich aff021;  Tammy C. Tobin aff022;  Arlín Toro-Martínez aff023;  Lonnie R. Welch aff024;  Melissa A. Wilson aff025;  David Ebenbach aff026;  Mindy McWilliams aff026;  Anne G. Rosenwald aff027;  Mark A. Pauley aff028
Působiště autorů: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, United States of America aff001;  Microbiology and Cell Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States of America aff002;  Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States of America aff003;  Department of Biology, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA, United States of America aff004;  Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, United States of America aff005;  Department of Biology, College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, United States of America aff006;  University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States of America aff007;  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America aff008;  Department of Biological Sciences, Hampton University, Hampton, VA, United States of America aff009;  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, United States of America aff010;  Department of Teacher Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, United States of America aff011;  Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, United States of America aff012;  Department of Biological Sciences, Bioinformatics Program, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX, United States of America aff013;  Departments of Biological Sciences and Mathematical Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, United States of America aff014;  Department of Biology, Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA, United States of America aff015;  Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, United States of America aff016;  Biology and Biotechnology Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, United States of America aff017;  Bioinformatics Program, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, United States of America aff018;  Digital World Biology, PMB, Seattle, WA, United States of America aff019;  Department of Natural Sciences, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus, San Juan, PR, United States of America aff020;  Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, United States of America aff021;  Department of Biology, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA, United States of America aff022;  Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, San Germán Campus, San Germán, PR, United States of America aff023;  Department of Computer Science, Ohio University, Athens, OH, United States of America aff024;  School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States of America aff025;  Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States of America aff026;  Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States of America aff027;  School of Interdisciplinary Informatics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, United States of America aff028
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224288


Bioinformatics, a discipline that combines aspects of biology, statistics, mathematics, and computer science, is becoming increasingly important for biological research. However, bioinformatics instruction is not yet generally integrated into undergraduate life sciences curricula. To understand why we studied how bioinformatics is being included in biology education in the US by conducting a nationwide survey of faculty at two- and four-year institutions. The survey asked several open-ended questions that probed barriers to integration, the answers to which were analyzed using a mixed-methods approach. The barrier most frequently reported by the 1,260 respondents was lack of faculty expertise/training, but other deterrents—lack of student interest, overly-full curricula, and lack of student preparation—were also common. Interestingly, the barriers faculty face depended strongly on whether they are members of an underrepresented group and on the Carnegie Classification of their home institution. We were surprised to discover that the cohort of faculty who were awarded their terminal degree most recently reported the most preparation in bioinformatics but teach it at the lowest rate.

Klíčová slova:

Bioinformatics – Biology and life sciences – Computer and information sciences – Graduates – Surveys – Undergraduates – Workshops – Colleges


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2019 Číslo 11