What is Bioin­for­matics?

Bioin­for­matics applies methods from computer science to scien­tific problems in the life sciences. Starting as a connecting disci­pline between computer science and the life sciences, bioin­for­matics has become an independent sub-disci­pline over the last decades.

High throughput experi­ments have become incre­asingly important in chemistry, biology, medicine and pharma­cology. They result in huge amounts of complex data in the areas of genome squencing, expression profiles of proteins and structure eluci­dation of proteins as well as inter­ac­tions between biomole­cules (proteins, RNA, low molecular-weight compounds). Bioin­for­matics develop software tools to prepare, evaluate and analyze these data. Bioin­for­matics develops software tools to prepare, analyze, and interpret these data, playing a crucial role in modern life sciences by generating knowledge from large datasets and making it usable for predicting biolo­gical phenomena.

FaBI has agreed on the following definition of bioin­for­matics as the foundation of their work:

“Bioin­for­matics is an inter­di­sci­plinary science. By bioin­for­matics we under­stand the research, develo­pment and appli­cation of computer-based methods used to answer biomole­cular and biome­dical research questions. The focus lies on models and algorithms for data at the molecular and cellular levels, including:

  • genomes and genes
  • gene and protein expression and ‑regulation,
  • metabolic and regulatory pathways and networks,
  • struc­tures of biomacro­mole­cules, esp. DNA, RNA and proteins,
  • molecular inter­ac­tions between biomacro­mole­cules and between biomacro­mole­cules and other substances like substrates, trans­mitters, neuro­trans­mitters and inhibitors as well as
  • molecular charac­te­rization of ecolo­gical systems.”