The Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and Genomics is a 30 credit, 9 month graduate program which encompasses the study of genomics, proteomics, molecular genetics, protein biochemistry and bioinformatics. It provides students with broad-based knowledge of theories, quantitative methods, applications of biotechnology and bioinformatics that are pertinent to genomic analyses.
Get hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment used in genomic and biotechnology research facilities. With small class sizes and the experience of running your own research project, you will get a head start to pursue your graduate training and skills to enter the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
A parallel goal of the program is to provide in-depth knowledge on the following topics:
production of proteins of value to the pharmaceutical, agri-food and forestry industries.
the development of genomic methods for industrial and environmental applications.
Credits. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits, comprised of 24 credits of course work and a 6-credit research project. Of the 30 credits required, 21 are designated as core.
Courses. Credit courses for the diploma program are listed below. All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise indicated.
Core Courses (21 credits)
BIOL 510 Bioinformatics
BIOL 511 Structural Genomics
BIOL 512 Functional Genomics
BIOL 515 Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory
BIOL 516 Project in Biotechnology and Genomics (6 credits) PHIL 530 Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Biotechnology
Elective Courses (9 credits)
BIOL 520 Bioinformatics Programming
BIOL 521 Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology
BIOL 523 Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology
BIOL 524 High-throughput Instrumentation
CHEM 678 Protein Engineering and Design
CHEM 690 Selected Topics in Instrumentation
Admission Requirements. To be considered for admission, students must hold a BSc degree from an accredited university with at least fifteen credits in courses at the 200 or 300 level in the following subjects: genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and 3 credits of laboratory in one or more of the previous subjects. In addition, applicants should have obtained an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a scale with a maximum of 4.30).
Applicants whose primary language is not English and who do not meet one of the proofs of proficiency listed below must write an English proficiency test, regardless of citizenship. See requirements.
Late applications will be considered, at the discretion of the Program Director and subject to space availability.
Priority will be given to those who apply within the official deadlines listed above. Some programs may continue to accept applications after these deadlines. For more information, please contact the department.
BIOL 510 Bioinformatics Prerequisites: BIOL 367 or equivalent; COMP 228 (System Hardware) or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This course provides the tools for life scientists to interpret and analyze biological sequence data. It provides a general overview of the growth in availability of genetic information. The course covers the genetic databases; the rapidly-increasing number of genome databases, including the human genome database; the sequence homology search engines and search algorithms; software for the identification of structural sequence components; and the determination of evolutionary relationships between sequences.
BIOL 511 Structural Genomics Prerequisite: BIOL 367 or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This course provides an overview of genome analysis including: cloning systems; sequencing strategies; methods of detecting genes and approaches to mapping genomes. It covers the theory and design of the different approaches, and the analysis of genomic data generated from them.
BIOL 512 Functional Genomics Prerequisite: BIOL 367 or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This course focuses on the functional analysis of expressed genes and their products. Course content includes the construction and screening of normalized cDNA libraries, analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs), functional analysis by gene knock-outs, localization of gene products by gene knowk-ins, transcription profiling, systematic identification of proteins, and functional analysis of proteins by detection of protein-protein interactions.
BIOL 515 Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory Prerequisite: BIOL 368 or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This is a hands-on course on techniques used in biotechnology and genomics. Experiments conducted in this course include separation and mapping of high molecular weight DNA fragments, shotgun sequencing, ESTs sequencing, protein production in bacteria and fungi, functional analysis of protein products, protein arrays, and in vivo detection of protein interactions.
BIOL 516 Project in Biotechnology and Genomics (6 credits) Prerequisites: BIOL 466; BIOL 368; or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
Each student conducts a project under the supervision of a faculty member at Concordia or other research institutions affiliated with the program. The project topic requires approval by the course coordinator. The project can be taken over an 8-month (10 hours per week) of a 4-month period (20 hours per week) at Concordia or other approved institutions or companies. The project will be chosen from one or more of the following fields: biotechnology, genomics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput experimentation. The nature of the project can be research, development, or application. A student who is working full-time or part-time can pursue the project in his/her place of employment subject to approval. (Approval will only be given to projects which are clearly demonstrated to be independent of the regular work requirement). At the end of the project, the student is required to submit a report on the results of the project and present the results publicly in the form of a scientific poster or a short talk at a scheduled Genomics/Biotechnology Research Day.
BIOL 520 Bioinformatics Programming Prerequisites: BIOL 510; COMP 248 or equivalent.
This course is an introduction to working with public domain tools for bioinformatics, and the management of computers, software, and databases for bioinformatics. It covers setting up and use of a workstation running Linux, basic Unix commands, and scripting the Unix shell. It also provides an introduction to Perl, python, Java, and C++ programming languages, the Apache web server, and the mySQL database.
BIOL 521 Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This course provides an in-depth evaluation of current biotechnology tools used in pharmaceutical and forestry industries, and in environmental remediation. New technologies and genomic approaches that can be applied to these processes are also discussed.
BIOL 523 Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This course provides an overview on the use of biotechnology in agriculture and in the agri-food industry. Plant genomics and genetic manipulation of plants are emphasized. Also discussed are biotechnology methods used in reducing agricultural pollutants and converting agricultural surplus to energy.
BIOL 524 High-throughput Instrumentation Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This is a hands-on introduction to high-throughput instruments used in biotechnology and genomics. Students are exposed to capillary electrophoresis-based DNA sequencing, microplate-based PCR reactions and purification of PCR products, construction of DNA chips, microarray scanning, and liquid handling robotics. Enrolment in this course is restricted to ten students.
PHIL 530 Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Biotechnology Prerequisite: BIOL 367 or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This interdisciplinary course examines some of the ethical, legal, and social implications of recent developments in biotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Students explore current debates about biotechnologies in the fields of agricultural biotechnology, global development, and environmental risk. Issues such as commercialization and intellectual property, the role of media and public perceptions of biotechnologies, and social responsibility and policy formation are also addressed.
Main fields of research include biochemistry, biotechnology, cell biology, conservation biology, ecology and behaviour, evolutionary biology, genomics, microbiology, molecular biology, plant biology, population genetics and proteomics.
The Department’s activities are supported by a number of specialized facilities including a greenhouse, animal holding facilities, epifluorescent and confocal microscopes, darkrooms, instrument rooms with centrifuges, spectrophotometers, basic biochemical instrumentation, a sterile transfer laboratory, cold rooms, environment controlled rooms and radioisotope laboratories.
Hands-on experience is a major component of the training provided by the Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and Genomics. Students are trained to operate the state-of-the-art equipment used in genomic and biotechnology research. This include hands-on experience in transcription profiling using DNA microarrays, real-time quantitative RT-PCR, proteomics (protein extraction, tandem affinity purification, 2D gels, mass spectrometry) and a diversity of molecular and bioinformatic tools.