Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a discipline bridging the boundary of molecular biology and computer science. The name, coined in 1978, found its use as a name for the new discipline in the 1990s. The main domain of bioinformatics is the study of methods to store, analyze and visualize large data sets generated in molecular biology. Newly established disciplines producing such data today, besides various branches of molecular biology, are genomics and proteomics. These so-called “-omics” employ modern, highly parallel techniques to sequence DNA or identify “en mass” other biomolecules, such as RNA, proteins or metabolites in living cells and tissues. The amount of data available from modern experiments exclude manual analysis. Bioinformatics as a discipline comes up with new ways of working with such data, employing computers for automation, special algorithms to decrease time or space requirements of computation and combines biological knowledge with statistics, computer science and data visualization techniques to produce new tools or insights beneficial to our understanding of life.

At FI we are mostly interested in new methods to analyze sequences and structures of biomolecules. Some of the past/current/future projects and key student works include:
  • Protein modularity, techniques of segmentation of protein sequences and structures into meaningful structural/functional modules (several student works, some presented at conferences)
  • DNA sequence analysis to identify secondary structures, such as cruciforms and H-DNA (GACR project in cooperation with Brno Technical University and the Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Computational tools and algorithms for detecting specific sequence patterns and their applications (PRIMEX, VPCR)
  • Bioinformatic methods in proteomics, using mass spectra to identify bacterial species and strains (collaboration with Faculty of Science)
  • Integration of sequence and structural data with annotations to enable complex queries on genomes and proteomes
  • Development or modification of computing environments for bioinformatics

Responsible contact: Ing. Dana Komárková