Problem solving in biology and biotechnology: The use of bioinformatics tools and databases

Leading team

Prof. Anat Yarden and Dr. Yossy Machluf

Postdocs and students

Ohad Levkowitz

R&D team

Dr. Yossy Machluf

Dr. Orna Dahan

Carmit Avidan-Shpalter

Dr. Amir Mitchell

Dr. Hadas Gelbart

Prof. Anat Yarden


In light of the “information revolution”, bioinformatics – an emerging interdisciplinary field which encompasses research, development, or application of computational tools and approaches for expanding the use of bio-medical data, including those to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyze, or visualize such data – has evolved. Bioinformatics is an integral part of modern life sciences. It has revolutionized and redefined how research is carried out, and has had an enormous impact on biotechnology, medicine, agriculture and related areas. Yet, similarly to other exciting new fields of science, it is only rarely integrated into high-school teaching and learning programs, playing almost no role in preparing the next generation of information-oriented citizens.
We have developed a web-based learning environment, aimed at introducing bioinformatics into a high-school biotechnology majors’ curriculum through engaging learners in scientifically authentic inquiry activities. In first-hand active learning processes, students approach real-world problems, use diverse bioinformatics tools and databases, while acquiring and applying modern scientific practices, which integrate skills, knowledge and scientific reasoning.

The current study is aimed at examining students’ acquisition of various types of domain-specific knowledge, their ability to coordinate between these types of knowledge, and their appropriation of a bioinformatics approach while learning using authentic research activities provided to them through the learning environment in bioinformatics. We also try to characterize how students’ learning outcomes are related to teaching strategies and teachers’ beliefs that are aimed to support learning of the bioinformatics. Such study may shed light on the means in which high-school students perceive and deal with scientifically authentic inquiry activities in bioinformatics, as well as on the means used for instruction of such materials.

Related articles

Links to materials (in English and in Hebrew)

Short summary of the main features

Link to project website