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Originally relating to the informatics of biotechnology (a term used to refer to the sequencing of DNA, RNA and proteins), bioinformatics has come to comprise methods and tools for representing, understanding and transforming all manner of biological data. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary research area between computer and biomedical science. Computer science is used to analyze, gather, store and integrate large datasets of biological information and data and use this application to solve problems concerning human health and disease. Although analysis of molecular sequences is still a major focus of bioinformatics, biomolecular structure, function and pathways, and biochemical simulations (referred to as in silico biology) have become important as well. Bioinformatics is an important component in the advancement of precision medicine and bioinformatic research will help guide the treatment of human disease. 

Computational Genomics Research at UAB

Drs. Jake Chen, Zechen Chong and Alex Rosenberg lead the bioinformatic research initiative within the Informatics Institute. 

Dr. Chong's lab uses bioinformatics to study the human genome and explore meaningful biological insights. Currently, Dr. Chong and his lab are working on developing novel algorithms for sequencing data (next-generation and third-generation) analysis and conducting research on the mechanisms of genomic rearrangements and disease genomics.

Dr. Rosenberg applies bioinformatics to develop analytical methods and tools for the study of immune cell repertoires using next generation sequencing.  This work supports studies in vaccinology, autoimmunity, infectious disease and allergy and is useful for answering basic questions about the development of immune system responses.  He also develops approaches for visualization of complex biological data, especially the integration of data from multiple high-throughput platforms.