Design of databases and computational algorithms to analyse biological data
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Bioinformatics methods and technologies have been used since the 1980s in genomics and genetics, particularly in projects involving large-scale data. Today, the field of bioinformatics covers the design and construction of databases and computational algorithms, as well as the use of mathematical and statistical approaches, to solve practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data. The primary goal of bioinformatics is thus to increase the understanding of biological processes.
In the framework of integrated structural biology, the goal of bioinformatics is not only to facilitate the determination of a protein’s 3D structure, but also to understand its role(s) in the complex, dynamic networks that are responsible for cellular or organismal functions. This requires dedicated computational systems that can handle and store large volumes of heterogeneous data and that can quickly process queries between the different data resources and efficiently extract relevant knowledge. Given the complexity of the problems addressed, a crucial aspect of today’s bioinformatics is the development of user-friendly, intuitive user interfaces and visualization tools that provide easy access to the results for the biologist.