M.Sc. Computational Biology offered by the Pondicherry University will be connected by video conferencing facility with Anna University and Madurai Kamaraj University for a seamless sharing of knowledge and expertise.

Having achieved the status of being the fastest growing central university in the country, the Pondicherry University is now expanding the variety of courses that it is offering to students.

The newest addition is a Master of Science programme in Computational Biology. Functioning under the Department of Bio-informatics of the university, the programme is being directly funded by the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi. The postgraduate course will be a network programme provided in collaboration with the Anna University in Chennai and Madurai Kamaraj University.

According to Head of Department P.P. Mathur, the course is the first of its kind in the country where there would be a “seamless sharing of knowledge and expertise between three big universities.”

Out of the total intake of 36, each of the three universities will admit 12 students and will have a common syllabus for the course.

Though not possible this year, all three institutions are expected to be connected through a real time video conferencing facility next academic year onwards.

Mr. Mathur says that such an arrangement has been made to help students get access to best of minds from all the three participating universities. This also helps in cost-cutting as special lecturers need not be recruited by each university to teach the subjects concerned.

The course will focus on addressing biological problems with heavy inputs from mathematics, chemistry and physics.

Areas such as mathematical modelling of molecular compounds and their bonding, biomedical informatics, sequence analysis, molecular dynamics, computational genomics, proteomics and analytical methods in biotechnology will be studied under the course.

Mr. Mathur says that the course would aim at equipping students with knowledge that would help them in pursuing higher research in the field of bio-informatics.

Such students are also in great demand in the pharmaceutical industry where computational aspects form a vital part in drug development. The students will also have to work on a project in either of the other two universities at the end of the course.

Candidates are expected to have a bachelor's degree in any relevant area of physical, chemical, life sciences, mathematics and computer science or a Bachelor of Engineering degree with a minimum of 55 per cent marks at the undergraduate level.