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Making research data usable: the Computational Life Science master’s program at Jacobs University

July 6, 2016

The flood of data is rising constantly – including in biological research. The data must be saved, classified, and examined. Computer-based and mathematical models help analyze large volumes of data and gain new insights. The two-year English-language master’s program Computational Life Science at the private Jacobs University is dedicated to this future-oriented field. It is academically demanding and research-oriented; the work method is transdisciplinary. 
 
The program combines content from life sciences and biology with those of mathematics and computer science. It is primarily aimed at bioinformaticians, physicists, computer scientists, mathematicians, and those with a bachelor’s degree in a related area. The curriculum is customized to the needs of the students. It encompasses lectures and seminars, and practical modules in state-of-the-art laboratories are integrated as well. The students are involved in their professors’ research projects and publications. They can choose from a variety of research foci such as bioinformatics, systems biology, visualization of medical data, and ocean ecology and biodiversity. 
 
The students are part of a simulating intercultural environment. With about 1,200 young people from over 100 countries, Jacobs University is Germany’s most international university. The bachelor’s students live on campus. That is where the seminars, lectures, and lab courses are held, and that is where the students can participate in numerous student clubs. The classes are small, with individual attention – in addition to technical education, personal development is also a primary goal. “The professional prospects of our graduates are excellent,” states Dr. Jens Christian Claussen, program coordinator, with certainty. “As game changers, they are in high demand in science and among prestigious companies with a global reach,” adds his colleague Prof. Dr. Marc-Thorsten Hütt.
 
The degree program is part of the health focus area – focus on bioactive substances, which concentrates on the analysis of bioactive substances of natural and synthetic origin. Global questions are viewed at Jacobs University not just from the perspective of one discipline; instead, they are solved through transdisciplinary work – researchers and students from different areas work together. 
 
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