Biology student workbench, 1997-2003

Biology Student Workbench supports exploration of biological problems through the use of molecular data in the secondary and undergraduate biology curricula.

Faculty and students have access to powerful state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools currently in use by the research community in a user-friendly environment. Students can investigate current problems in biology using molecular biology tools and skills. The primary objectives are:

  • create the Biology Student Workbench, an educational front-end to the powerful suite of tools comprising the Biology Workbench for use by undergraduate students and instructors
  • develop, test, evaluate and disseminate supportive inquiry-based curricular materials for diverse areas of biology nationwide, and
  • establish a community of inquiry, with scientists, educators and biology students using advanced science concepts and Workbench tools which will sustain, support and further disseminate the use of research tools within education.

Biology Workbench

The Biology Workbench is widely recognized as a significant bioinformatics resource because it provides a suite of interactive tools which draw on a host of biology databases and allows users to compare molecular sequences using high performance computing facilities, visualize and manipulate molecular structures, and generate phylogenetic hypotheses. The student version make available the advanced computational infrastructure used by today’s scientists. This access to a multiplicity of research analysis tools and data sources provides a rich environment for promoting student inquiry.


Thakkar, Umesh; Greene, Kathy; Bruce, Bertram C.; Donovan, Sam; Jakobsson, Eric G. (2002). Educational Grid (EdGrid) Biology Student Workbench (BSW) project. BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, Beloit College, Wisconsin.

Jakobsson, E., Bruce, Bertram C., Lathrop, S., Donovan, S. S., & Zaritsky, R. A. (2002, November). Biology Student Workbench: Inquiry tools for the use of molecular data in undergraduate biology. Final report. Champaign, IL: National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Williamson, J., Bruce, Bertram C., Jakobsson, E., Thakkar, Umesh, & Lock, P. (2001). Open-world learning with Biology Workbench: A high school biology classroom case study. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Thakkar, Umesh, Bruce, Bertram C., Donovan, S., Greene, K., & Jakobsson, E. (2001, October). EdGrid Biology Student Workbench year end report. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, National Center for Supercomputing Applications.