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Brief Bioinform. 2013 Sep;14(5):618-32. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbt024. Epub 2013 May 2.

Teaching the bioinformatics of signaling networks: an integrated approach to facilitate multi-disciplinary learning.

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Department of Genetics, Eotvos Lorand University, H-1117 Budapest, Pázmány s. 1/C, Hungary. Tel.: +36302686590;


The number of bioinformatics tools and resources that support molecular and cell biology approaches is continuously expanding. Moreover, systems and network biology analyses are accompanied more and more by integrated bioinformatics methods. Traditional information-centered university teaching methods often fail, as (1) it is impossible to cover all existing approaches in the frame of a single course, and (2) a large segment of the current bioinformation can become obsolete in a few years. Signaling network offers an excellent example for teaching bioinformatics resources and tools, as it is both focused and complex at the same time. Here, we present an outline of a university bioinformatics course with four sample practices to demonstrate how signaling network studies can integrate biochemistry, genetics, cell biology and network sciences. We show that several bioinformatics resources and tools, as well as important concepts and current trends, can also be integrated to signaling network studies. The research-type hands-on experiences we show enable the students to improve key competences such as teamworking, creative and critical thinking and problem solving. Our classroom course curriculum can be re-formulated as an e-learning material or applied as a part of a specific training course. The multi-disciplinary approach and the mosaic setup of the course have the additional benefit to support the advanced teaching of talented students.


domain; epistasis; network; protein–protein interaction; signaling; university teaching

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