Plant Biologist Discovers Passion for Bioinformatics at UCSC Extension

Vasumathi Kode

- Vasumathi Kode, Bioinformatics Alumna

Term : January, 2014
Department : Biosciences
Program : Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics student Vasumathi Kode likes to sink her teeth into a good scientific puzzle. When she worked as a staff scientist in Hawaii, Kode worked for a private company that focused on the use of microalgae as a potential source of biofuel. Over time, she found her interest shifting from plant biology to bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary field which applies information technology and computer science tools to the field of molecular biology. Kode was attracted to UCSC Extension because of its connections throughout Silicon Valley and its support for international students.

"The international program staff was very helpful, in terms of taking me through the whole F1 visa process,” Kode says. “Between [the staff] and the Bioscience program coordinator, they were a very helpful team."

Unlike Honolulu, which has a limited market for bioscience professionals, Silicon Valley represents an exciting fresh start for someone like Kode, whose years of experience in plant biology and research lends itself to a career in bioinformatics. After completing the course "Introduction to Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology," she is eager to learn advanced theories and skills.

"UCSC Extension has one of the finest instructional teams. [They’re] focused not only on theoretical knowledge, but also on how you use this knowledge in solving a problem at the molecular level,” she says. “The hands-on assignments were challenging and fun to solve. Bioinformatics is a great course. I just loved it."

As she earns credit toward her certificate, Kode hopes to gain internship experience in the field. More than anything, she appreciates the program’s focus on practical applications.

Visit our Bioinformatics page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs pageBrowse upcoming Bioinformatics courses.

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