Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Computers have become a mainstay of modern biology, providing an essential computational component to many of the research areas in this field. Genetics and genomics research investigating complex disease makes particularly widespread use of bioinformatics for such things as creating software to analyze and visualize SNPs and genetic variation, data management tools for association studies, data management software for scientific literature, visualization tools for genomic data, algorithms for comparative mapping, proteomics data management software, software for comparative proteomics, and more.
One of the more novel applications of computation in the Physiology Department at MCW is the mathematics and software that is being used to develop computational models of the transport and biochemical reaction of metabolites and other substances. Modeling the properties of such complex systems allows otherwise untestable hypotheses to be evaluated in silico (computer model) and their conclusions transferred to an in vivo (animal) experiment for further verification.
More traditional computational tools such as databases, websites and software applications are being built and used by a number of projects to capture, store and analyze experimental data. The demands of the projects are such that extensive use is made of high-powered hardware and multi-node clusters to provide the storage and raw processing power required to handle the large quantities of data being processed. The faculty directly involved in computational biology and bioinformatics are listed below. A number of the major programs within the department are bioinformatics-based or contain a significant computational component and are covered in more detail elsewhere (RGD, Computational Biology).
Tao Wang, PhD
Associate Professor, Institute for Health and Equity, Biostatistics
Medical College of Wisconsin
Peter J. Tonellato, PhD
University of Missouri-Columbia