FAQ for Future Student

We have listed frequently asked questions in order to provide prospective students a better understanding on entrance into our laboratory. Adviser Heebal Kim

Q1) How do I get an admission to the graduate school to join the laboratory of bioinformatics and population genetics?

You can do it in two ways: first, through the Biomodulation major in the Department of Agriculture Biotechnology, of the College of Agriculture Life Sciences, and second, through the Interdisciplinary program in bioinformatics, College of Natural Sciences. For more details about admission requirements, please visit the following websites.
- SNU Graduate School Application Guide (Requirements and timeline)
- SNU Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, College of Agriculture Life Sciences Introduction
- SNU Biomodulation major, College of Agriculture Life Sciences Introduction
- SNU Interdisciplinary program in bioinformatics, College of Natural Sciences Introduction
Although both represent the official courses of SNU, it will be very helpful to have a brief interview with academic adviser (Prof. Heebal Kim) after making an appointment via email or phone call in order to discuss which major would be more suitable for the student.

Q2) Does the laboratory perform any benchtop experiments?

No, this is a dry lab, focusing only on computer-based data analysis.

Q3) I have a limited knowledge of computer programming and statistics. Can I still do well in the lab?

Most students relearn computer programming and statistics during graduate programs. There are currently two programmers, and you will be trained on programming skills needed for our research for a few weeks. We also strongly recommend you take some statistics classes offered for graduate students. If you are familiar with programming languages (Python, Perl, C/C++) and statistics (introduction to statistics, linear algebra, linear regression), then it will be very helpful.

Q4) What kind of research does this laboratory conduct?

Basically, we do not impose any limitation on the species we analyze. It is safe to say that we deal with all mammals of which genome information is available; however, we mainly focus on human, monkey, mouse, cow, sheep, pig, and horse. We also perform comparative analyses with avian species (chicken, turkey, duck and zebra finch). In addition, metagenome analyses of microorganisms related to food poisoning (vibrio, salmonella and staphylococcus), lactobacillus, and intestinal microorganisms are in progress. We also study viruses related to animals (FMDV, PRRSV, and influenza viruses) and are preparing for the research of evolutionary biology on mollusk.

Q5) How can one laboratory explore a variety of species?

Although we analyze numerous species, our laboratory does not focus on which species to study; instead, we bring all our attention to deciding which analytical method to use on certain species. The reasons are the following. Currently, with the advent of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, a vast amount of sequencing data has been accumulated. Thousands of researches on human genomes have been announced and are in progress, and tens of thousands of other species are being increasingly considered. The boundary of analyzing different species has been collapsed. Our laboratory concentrates on finding genomic footprints of a species through the research of evolutionary biology of animals, microorganisms, and viruses. We refer "domestication gene" to the result of rapid artificial selection in livestock. For microorganisms, this is equivalent to the "acclimation gene". This is also called the "antibiotic resistant gene" for pathogenic microorganisms that have survived at antibiotic treatments. Common evolutionary analysis of genome can be applied to every species to draw conclusions. Therefore, which methodology to analyze with is the focus of our laboratory, instead of which species to be considered.

Q6) What are the graduation requirements for M.S. and Ph.D. degrees?

For the Master's program, you should write one thesis to be published in domestic or international SCI(E) journals. During the course of 2 years, some students write 3 or more papers, whereas there are some who cannot write one. As entrance does not guarantee graduation, research period may depend on students. However, you cannot finish within 2 years. For Ph.D. program, you have to write 2 theses to be published in SCI(E). Since our laboratory has a relatively short history, we haven't produced many alumni, but as of Jan. 2011, considering candidates expected to graduate within one year, the number of theses published varies among students from 10 or more to 2~3 theses, and so it seems there are no students concerning about the minimum requirements of 2 SCI papers. We advise students to finish between 3 and 5 years, but this also depends on each student.

Q7) Can you talk about the scholarship support?

Scholarship will be decided after the meeting with adviser. It is flexible according to the research funds of the laboratory and will be commensurate with student's qualifications. Though we cannot open the amount to the public, it is okay to assume that tuition for Master's and tuition plus minimum living expenses for Doctor's will be provided. Outstanding students may receive additional scholarships and incentives