In 1998, the board of regents approved the bioinformatics major. The purpose of this multidisciplinary program was to combine computer science with other programs that need to process large amounts of data.
2001 was a significant year for bioinformatics. In January, Reliant Energy provided a $500,000 grant to expand the Rogers building, which houses the bioinformatics program. The building soon underwent remodeling and expansion. In April, a Baylor sophomore bioinformatics major was selected for a Goldwater Scholarship. In the natural sciences field, the Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most recognized and prestigious scholarships that a student can be awarded. With all of the activity, the W.M. Keck Foundation recognized the growth of the bioinformatics program and in September, provided a $500,000 grant to purchase state-of-the-art lab equipment. In 3 years, bioinformatics had become one of the fast growing degrees offered by Baylor.
In 2002, the bioinformatics program continued to grow with the addition of the 508,000 square foot Baylor Sciences Building, costing $103 million to build. Many bioinformatics classes and labs meet in this building. With the addition of this state-of-the-art building, the bioinformatics program experienced an instant increase in its number of students.
Today, the program is under the direction of Dr. Erich Baker. The program continues to grow at rapid pace. Some of our students decide to further their education studying to become doctors, pharmacologist, and computer scientist among other things. Students who go into the workforce have a wide range of careers to pick from. A few of the many job areas available to them are database design, library science, data warehousing, forensics, anthropology and agriculture. This wide rage of jobs is available because bioinformatics has developed into a multidisciplinary program that is the combination of informatics, life science, computational science, and gene and gene product sequence and structure analysis.