Welcome to the Department of Bioinformatics!
Bioinformatics and computational biology involve the use of techniques including applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry and biochemistry to solve biological problems usually on the molecular level. Research in computational biology often overlaps with systems biology. Major research efforts in the field include sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, protein structure alignment, protein structure prediction, prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions, and the modeling of evolution.
The terms bioinformatics and computational biology are often used interchangeably. However bioinformatics more properly refers to the creation and advancement of algorithms, computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve formal and practical problems posed by or inspired from the management and analysis of biological data. Computational biology, on the other hand, refers to hypothesis-driven investigation of a specific biological problem using computers, carried out with experimental and simulated data, with the primary goal of discovery and the advancement of biological knowledge. A similar distinction is made by National Institutes of Health in their working definitions of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, where it is further emphasized that there is a tight coupling of developments and knowledge between the more hypothesis-driven research in computational biology and technique-driven research in bioinformatics. Computational biology also includes lesser known but equally important subdisciplines such as computational biochemistry and computational biophysics.
A common thread in projects in bioinformatics and computational biology is the use of mathematical tools to extract useful information from data produced by high-throughput biological techniques such as genome sequencing. A representative problem in bioinformatics is the assembly of high-quality genome sequences from fragmentary "shotgun" DNA sequencing. Other common problems include the study of gene regulation using data from microarrays or mass spectrometry.
- February 28, 2007 - Department founded!
- A November 2008 PLoS Biology paper describes the Annotathon, bioinformatics training through metagenomic sequence annotation
- (2008) 'Bioinformatics technology provides new insight into microbial activities'
- February 28, 2007 - Novartis releases all its raw data onto the internet