The importance of bioinformatics, computational biology, and health informatics in life and health sciences has dramatically increased with the rise of genomics and proteomics and the need for informatics tools to manage health care. A strong representation of expertise in these fields has therefore become essential for any research university or clinical enterprise. With the rapid growth of data in the life and health sciences, there is a mounting need to train scientists who are experts in these quantitative sciences and familiar with the language of the life and health sciences. This need is reflected in job opportunities in academia, industry, and clinics for scientists trained in this interdisciplinary environment.
The establishment of the University of Minnesota Rochester campus provides the unique opportunity to build on existing capacity in both the Rochester area and on the Twin Cities campus to meet educational needs in this scientific field in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota established the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology (BICB) program (now called Bioinformatics and Computational Biology) in spring 2007 with legislative funding and support driven by the recommendations of the Governor of Minnesota’s appointed Rochester Higher Education Development Committee. The mission of the BICB program is to conduct research and provide education through the establishment of academic and research programs. All BICB academic and research programs are established between the University of Minnesota Rochester and University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC) with collaboration from Mayo Clinic, IBM, The Hormel Institute, Cray Inc., and National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).