Using Bioinformatics to Solve Medical Problems: An HIV Case Study

Overview & Concepts

Using an activity published by Beloit College at, students will develop an understanding of how bioinformatics allows us to solve problems. Students will analyze data to determine if a dentist was the source of the HIV transmitted to a patient(s). 

Grade Level: 

Concepts Covered: 

bioinformatics, problem solving

Prior Knowledge Required: 

virus, HIV, DNA

Activity Notes

Days to Teach: 

1/2 day - (40 min of 80 min period)


  • Whiteboard
  • Computers with access to the internet.
  • Optional:  printed copy of activity and data sets


Teaching Tips / Activity Overview: 

Bioinformatics is important in problem solving and also extending and building upon current knowledge. It allows us to use computers to process biological information, search biological information and connect the dots between evidence found and theories to further develop knowledge and understanding of science content.

  1. Discuss and list as a class what they think bioinformatics is on the whiteboard (5-10 min).
  2. Using computers or printed copies, complete the activity and analysis of data. Students work in pairs to complete analysis (25 - 30 min).
  3. Conduct a class discussion of results of analysis and the implications on society (10 -15 min). 


Participation Grade




Kathryn Miller wrote this lesson plan based for the activity published by Beloit College at

Academic Standards
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