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Quantitative Analysis of the Trends Exhibited by the Three Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences: Biophysics, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology

    Authors: Jonghoon Kang1,*, Seyeon Park1, Aarya Venkat1, Adarsh Gopinath1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Valdosta State University, 1500 N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA 31698. Phone: 229-333-7140. Fax: 229-245-6585. E-mail: jkang@valdosta.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 198-202. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.949
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    Abstract:

    New interdisciplinary biological sciences like bioinformatics, biophysics, and systems biology have become increasingly relevant in modern science. Many papers have suggested the importance of adding these subjects, particularly bioinformatics, to an undergraduate curriculum; however, most of their assertions have relied on qualitative arguments. In this paper, we will show our metadata analysis of a scientific literature database (PubMed) that quantitatively describes the importance of the subjects of bioinformatics, systems biology, and biophysics as compared with a well-established interdisciplinary subject, biochemistry. Specifically, we found that the development of each subject assessed by its publication volume was well described by a set of simple nonlinear equations, allowing us to characterize them quantitatively. Bioinformatics, which had the highest ratio of publications produced, was predicted to grow between 77% and 93% by 2025 according to the model. Due to the large number of publications produced in bioinformatics, which nearly matches the number published in biochemistry, it can be inferred that bioinformatics is almost equal in significance to biochemistry. Based on our analysis, we suggest that bioinformatics be added to the standard biology undergraduate curriculum. Adding this course to an undergraduate curriculum will better prepare students for future research in biology.

References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.949
2015-12-01
2017-09-23

Abstract:

New interdisciplinary biological sciences like bioinformatics, biophysics, and systems biology have become increasingly relevant in modern science. Many papers have suggested the importance of adding these subjects, particularly bioinformatics, to an undergraduate curriculum; however, most of their assertions have relied on qualitative arguments. In this paper, we will show our metadata analysis of a scientific literature database (PubMed) that quantitatively describes the importance of the subjects of bioinformatics, systems biology, and biophysics as compared with a well-established interdisciplinary subject, biochemistry. Specifically, we found that the development of each subject assessed by its publication volume was well described by a set of simple nonlinear equations, allowing us to characterize them quantitatively. Bioinformatics, which had the highest ratio of publications produced, was predicted to grow between 77% and 93% by 2025 according to the model. Due to the large number of publications produced in bioinformatics, which nearly matches the number published in biochemistry, it can be inferred that bioinformatics is almost equal in significance to biochemistry. Based on our analysis, we suggest that bioinformatics be added to the standard biology undergraduate curriculum. Adding this course to an undergraduate curriculum will better prepare students for future research in biology.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Comparison of observed and predicted values of biophysics publication numbers normalized to that of biochemistry. The observed values were obtained from PubMed database searches of biochemistry and biophysics publications. The predicted values were obtained from an equation ( Eq. 1 ) derived from a previous study ( 8 ). (A) This validation was conducted over five years from 2010 to 2014. A chi-square analysis demonstrates that the two sets of values are highly similar. (B) Fitting a sigmoid equation ( Eq. 2 ) to the data of biophysics papers from 1985 to 2014. The sigmoid function (solid line) obtained from the nonlinear regression is = 22.9/(1 + [-( – 2009.6)/13.2]) with = 0.9931. Eq. 1 (dotted line) is overlaid for comparison. A divergence between the two functions is clearly noticeable in 2009.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 198-202. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.949
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Normalized publication data for bioinformatics (A) and systems biology (B) in PubMed. Publication numbers of bioinformatics and systems biology normalized to that of biochemistry are shown as a function of year. (A) The curve is generated by fitting both sigmoidal and Gompertz functions to the data, creating a divergence between the two trend lines past the year 2014. By 2025, the range of this gap is between 77% and 93%. (B) The curve is generated by fitting only a Gompertz equation to the data because the Gompertz equation has the highest coefficient of determination and the lowest sum of squares.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 198-202. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.949
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