What is Bioinformatics?

What is Bioinformatics?

About Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary scientific discipline with parts of the subjects biology and computer science, but also medicine, chemistry, pharmacy, physics and mathematics. The aim of bioinformatics is to use computers to configure high-tech experiments in the life sciences and (above all) to analyze the extensive and complex data sets generated in the process.

The first draft sequence of the human genome, 15 years ago, marked a milestone in biology. It changed from a predominantly qualitative science in many areas to a predominantly quantitative one. However, inferring biological processes in the human organism from the genome sequence has turned out to be much more difficult than initially assumed.

Evolutionary living organisms are highly complex and not designed to be easily understood. High-dimensional genetic and molecular biological data that allow a deeper understanding of complex biological processes can now only be analyzed with the help of computers. Therefore, bioinformatics is now an indispensable part of life sciences and biotechnology. 

Below you will find an overview of general research areas in bioinformatics as well as excerpts from current research at the Center for Bioinformatics.

Research Topics in the Field of Bioinformatics

Researchers in Bioinformatics develop algorithms and software for simulations of biochemical processes and the analysis of molecular biology data.

The publication of the human genome sequence in February 2001 is considered to be a milestone of scientific research. This is reflected in the reaction of the media and the public. Bioinformatics tools were quintessential for this achievement.

Still bigger challenges lie ahead of us: genes must be identified and their function determined. An understanding of the interplay of the gene products will be the basis for the development of future pharmaceutical treatments. These tasks exceed the mere assembly of the DNA-sequence by far. Bioinformatics provides decisive contributions to tackle these challenges.

The following page provides a detailed overview of the tasks and goals of Bioinformatics on on the way from genome to drug.

Decoding the roughly three billion base pairs of all our DNA has been compared to landing on the moon, splitting the atom, and even inventing the wheel. - Nature, February 2001

Excerpts of Current Research at the CBI

The Center for Bioinformatics and thus its bioinformatics are broadly positioned, i.e. diverse complexes of topics find their way into our bioinformatics research. Despite the great breadth of research, CBI has given itself a concrete scientific profile, which is focused on pharmaceutical and medical topics and which clearly distinguishes it from the other German bioinformatics centers. In short, bioinformatics is to be used here for a better understanding of diseases in order to diagnose them better and earlier and to treat them in a more targeted way.

In the following you will get an overview of the current research activities of the Center for Bioinformatics.