What is Cheminformatics?
Computational methods have had a place in fundamental research for decades. In theoretical and physical chemistry for example, computational models are routinely used for the prediction of molecular properties and the testing of theory.
Chemoinformatics/cheminformatics can be broadly defined as the field of solving chemical problems with computers. In contrast to classic computational chemistry, the emphasis is on practical questions. How can one represent molecules computationally, how can one compare them and predict their effects in biological systems?
Chemoinformatic methods are widely used in chemical industry, particulary in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research. The techniques are also behind the terms "computer-aided molecular design" and "drug design" where one is often looking for molecules with specific biological properties. Also beyond pharmaceutical research computational chemistry and chemoinformatics are widely applied, for example for the development of novel biotechnological processes and products.
Two groups in the Centre for Bioinformatics work in the areas of modelling and chemoinformatics. The biomolecular modelling (BM) group concentrates on macromolecules and their structure. The Department of algorithmic molecular design (AMD) is concerned with the development and application of novel methods for chemoinformatics and their place in modelling. The ZBH has strong links to pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
The ZBH offers outstanding possibilities for studying at the bachelors and masters level in chemoinformatics and modelling. The bachelors programme 'Computing in Science' offers a profound computer science education with the possibility to focus in chemistry of biochemistry as minor.
Our masters programme in Bioinformatics allows the deepening in biological as well as chemical topics. A joint study programme for Bio- and Chemoinformatics was established at the ZBH for very good reasons. Firstly, chemoinformatics is widely applied in the life sciences. One needs a good knowledge of (molecular-)biology / biochemistry as well as bioinformatics for a career in chemoinformatics. Next, we place great emphasis on the many choices open as optional units. Within this framework, one can choose chemoinformatics as a major area. Besides for graduates from the bachelor Computing in Science, the masters programme is well suited for students with a first degree in chemistry and an interest in computer-based methods and computer scientists with an interest in chemistry and life sciences.