István Albert, Bioinformatics, Penn State

The Biostar Handbook: A Beginner's Guide to Bioinformatics

After almost two years of work, the Biostar Handbook has been published. It is a passionately and lovingly crafted e-book that makes a challenging subject accessible and, dare we say fun.

The Biostar Handbook introduces readers to bioinformatics, the scientific discipline at the intersection of biology, computer science, and statistical data analytics dedicated to the digital processing of genomic information.


The Biostar Handbook delivers simple, concise, and relevant information for those looking to understand the field of bioinformatics as a data science. It is a comprehensive, practical handbook that covers all major application areas of bioinformatics.

We are self publishing to keep the costs low. Get the Handbook for your research group and watch their productivity soar! Read it online in a browser, as a PDF on your computer or as an e-Book on your mobile device.

We are continuously updating the Handbook adding new chapters and sections to it. Subscribe to our email list to be notified of these changes.

Teaching and Lectures

I teach the BMMB 852: Applied Bioinformatics course in resident instruction in the Fall and online during the Spring semester. Typically the course fills up very quickly once registration opens so please plan accordingly. Schedule for Fall 2016 (Aug 22 - Dec 9):

Applied Bioinformatics, BMMB 852
208 Thomas Building
Mo/We 2:30- 3:20pm

Current lecture notes: BMMB 852: Applied Bioinformatics (Fall, 2016)

Previous years' lectures can be accessed here »

Graduate Certificate


I serve as director of the Online Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Bioinformatics offered via the Penn State World Campus. The certificate builds on courses developed for the Bioinformatics and Genomics Ph.D option at Penn State with materials reworked for the online format. The Certificate requires the completion of 4 courses (11 credits) and can be completed in a year.

Learn more about the Certificate Program »

Research and Publications


I have worked and published in three distinct scientific fields: bioinformatics, computer science and statistical physics. Lately I have been working mostly in collaborations via the Bioinformatics Consulting Center. In this capacity I advise and meet with students from a wide range of departments.

Biostars: Bioinformatics Questions and Answers


Five years ago I have created the Biostars: Question and Answer website that runs on an open source software and aims to support and sustain scientific communities. Today it serves over 2 million users a year and it has become the most visited bioinformatics information resource in the world.

Software Development


I have extensive software engineering experience having served as primary or lead developer on numerous web based software pacakges. While I have certification as a Java and XML developer currently I only program in Python (and occasionally C) see also Python vs Perl:

Writing code is one of my passions. Even this website is generated with a custom software that I have written see: pyblue.

Bioinformatics Consulting Center at Penn State

I serve as the director of the Bioinformatics Consulting Center (BCC) at Penn State. Our center offers bioinformatics data analysis services that cover multiple application domains of high throughput sequencing. Services range from routine data manipulation steps to developing novel, domain specific methodologies. Our center is also in charge of distributing and managing the sequencing data produced by the Penn State Genomics Core Sequencing Facilities.

Visit the Bioinformatics Consulting Center for more details.

Dr. István Albert
Professor of Bioinformatics

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Director of the Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics

Pennsylvania State University

W237 Millenium Science
(814) 865-2281