What is bioin­for­matics?

Bioin­for­matics applies methods from computer science to scien­tific problems from the life sciences and has developed into an independent sub-disci­pline over the last few decades as a linking disci­pline between computer science and the life sciences. High-throughput experi­ments have found their way into many areas of chemistry, biology, medicine and pharma­cology and provide a large amount of complex data in the areas of genome sequencing, protein expression profiles, protein structure eluci­dation and inter­ac­tions between biomole­cules (proteins, RNA, low-molecular compounds). Bioin­for­matics develops software tools for preparing, evaluating and analyzing this data. It therefore plays a key role in the modern life sciences, as only with sophisti­cated computer systems can knowledge be generated from large amounts of data and made usable for the prediction of biolo­gical phenomena. The Bioin­for­matics Division (FaBI) has defined the following definition of bioin­for­matics as the basis of its work: “Bioin­for­matics is an inter­di­sci­plinary science. We under­stand bioin­for­matics as the research, develo­pment and appli­cation of computer-aided methods to answer questions in molecular biology and biome­dicine. The focus is on models and algorithms for data at the molecular and cell biolo­gical level, for example for

  • Genomes and genes,
  • gene and protein expression and regulation,
  • metabolic and regulatory pathways and networks,
  • struc­tures of biomacro­mole­cules, in parti­cular DNA, RNA and proteins,
    molecular inter­ac­tions between biomacro­mole­cules and between biomacro­mole­cules and other substances such as substrates, trans­mitters, messengers and inhibitors, and
  • the molecular charac­te­rization of ecosystems.”