Bioinformatics Community

Bioinformatics Community Life sciences have undergone an immense transformation during the recent years, where advances in genomics, proteomics and other high-throughput techniques produce floods of raw data that need to be stored, analyzed and interpreted in various ways. Biology and medicine have become information sciences and new areas of comparative biology have opened. Bioinformatics is crucial by providing tools to efficiently utilize these gold mines of data in order to better understand the roles of proteins and genes and to obtain ideas for new experiments. Therefore, bioinformatics has become increasingly important, supporting all branches of life sciences, with emphasis on biology and medicine, and also of industrial importance for development of new drugs, nutrition, agriculture, forestry and fishery.

Bioinformatics is a recent scientific discipline at the border between biosciences/medical sciences and computational sciences/mathematics/statistics. To quote the ESFRI[1] roadmap (September 2006): “Bioinformatics is today a prerequisite for all experimental and applied biology, including drug discovery, human genetics and epidemiology”. With large-scale datasets, often distributed at different sites worldwide, utilizing a multitude of computerized methods, bioinformatics is a typical field of e-Science. Bioinformatics is a wide discipline, ranging from classical, sequence-based analyses of nucleic acids and proteins, via predictions of functional and structural properties, protein family relationships, protein interactions, to systems biology, where metabolic pathways, time-dependent events and regulatory networks are analyzed. Datasets used in bioinformatics represent multiple levels: nucleotide sequences and genomes, gene expression, proteins, protein families, protein structures, protein interactions, chemical entities, metabolic pathways and systems. Bioinformatics is a data-intense and compute-intense discipline, and with current and future enormous data growth, there is great need for development of smart ways to deal with data in order to explore the fascinating biological phenomena behind the secrets of life.


Research environment


There are bioinformatics groups at all four SeRC universities (SU, LiU, KI and KTH). Furthermore, there are multiple openings for collaborations between the Bioinformatics community and other SeRC communities, especially Complex Diseases, Molecular Simulation, and Visualization.


The senior staff of the community consists of Arne Elofsson (SU), Jens Lagergren (KTH), Lars Arvestad (SU), Erik Sonnhammer (SU), Lukas Käll (KTH), Olof Emanuelsson (KTH), and Björn Wallner (LiU). Bengt Persson at Uppsala University is also a member as he is affiliated with KI, and was previously at LiU. 


All Stockholm members are located at Science for Life Laboratory's Stockholm site, which provides an excellent physical base for our community. 



Overall research goals


The overall research goals for the Bioinformatics community include development of new methods to be used for large-scale analysis of biological data, especially related to DNA and proteins. Furthermore, development of more efficient algorithms and strategies are central on the research agenda. The Bioinformatics community works in close contact with the Complex Diseases and Molecular Simulation communities. Furthermore, the core communities on Data Management and Numerical Analysis are of central interest for development in bioinformatics. For the near future, we focus on Evolutionary models, Protein networks, Use of high-performance computing to model membrane protein interactions, High-throughput prediction of disease causing SNPs and A Bayesian method to study protein domain evolution

[1]ESFRI, European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures