Bioinformatics and data services
Bioinformatics is an exciting and relatively new field of science, encompassing the branch of life science that applies information technology to the field of biology to help understand various biological processes.
It's all about data, and lots of it.
The primary goal of bioinformatics is to increase the understanding of biological processes.
For a number of years, researchers at the Telethon Institute have been using microarray technology to rapidly screen thousands of genes at the same time.
These microarray experiments take a snapshot of every gene in a particular cell or tissue and measure their expression levels, in some cases generating data for over 20,000 different genes.
It's important information that helps researchers study a range of different childhood diseases, including asthma and allergy, leukaemia and brain tumours.
But the challenge has been to combine this vast amount of biological data so that researchers can form a comprehensive picture which may help to unlock why, for example, some cells become cancerous or why the immune cells from allergic people hyper-react to harmless proteins.
Distinct from other approaches, Bioinformatics focuses on developing and applying computationally-intensive techniques (for example: pattern recognition, data mining, machine learning algorithms, and visualization) to achieve this goal.
Major research efforts in the field include:
- sequence alignment
- gene finding
- genome assembly
- drug design & discovery
- protein structure alignment & prediction
- prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions
- genome-wide association studies and
- the modeling of evolution
Bioinformatics involves the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques and theory to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data.
Common activities in bioinformatics include:
- mapping and analyzing DNA and protein sequences
- aligning different DNA and protein sequences to compare them and
- creating and viewing 3-D models of protein structures
Read more about Bioinformatics at the Telethon Institute