Biomedical Sciences Research Institute

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit


    Coordinator: Mr Olivier Riche
    Tel: +44 (0)28 7012 4021

    The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit uses a "Systems Biology" approach to study the complex interactions between the components of biological systems, and how these interactions give rise to the function and behavior of that system.

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    Hypothesis driven research in systems biology, taken from Kitano. Systems Biology : A brief overview, Science, 2002

    The Systems Biology knowledge discovery cycle, as sketched by Kitano (in Science 2002), comprises:

    - Analytic or computational modelling to propose specific testable hypotheses about a biological system
    - Experimental validation; and
    - Refining the computational model or theory using the newly acquired quantitative data.

    The Unit offers the ability to obtain, integrate and analyse complex data from multiple experimental sources using software tools and can potentially combine data collected from all of our other Core Facility Units. Members of the Unit specialize in microarray analysis, grid services, image processing and quantitative anatomy.


    The Unit offers access to:

    - Five dual processor servers that provide web services and content-management software, groupware, file and database services as well as grid services (Globus and CONDOR).

    The following equipment is available for large-scale computing tasks:
    - SUN 48-cores Opteron System with 512GB of RAM
    - High-performance visualization and reconstruction workstation with Amira and OpenCAR pre-installed
    - A dedicated video and image processing high-end workstation.

    Projects using this infrastructure range from proteinunfolding simulations to tracing


    - For general systems biology related projects, we offer access to software and hardware infrastructure.

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    3D reconstruction of dendrite

    - Consultancy services in microarray analysis, grid technology, data base design and integration as well as image analysis and algorithm development can be offered (depending on the biological model system and available in-house expertise).
    - In particular, we offer consultancy services in quantitative anatomy using 3D reconstructions from serial sections and intense sampling based on the OpenCAR system (