Bioinformatics | Overview   ///  (352) 273-8049   ///    RRID: SCR_019120
What is Bioinformatics?


The in-depth study of biological sequences can result in the acquisition of extensive amounts of biological data. What do you do when you have acquired large data sets from next-generation sequencing and array-based technologies? You might seek to collaborate with a highly experienced researcher at the intersection of biology and technology to help you sort through the complex data.

Originally coined by researchers Paulien Hogeweg and Ben Hesper used to define “the study of informatic processes in biotic systems (1),” the term Bioinformatics has evolved over the years. Currently, it references the interdisciplinary application of information technology to mine, sort, and analyze sizable and complex amounts of data from biological research.

Biological structures like genes and proteins carry a wealth of information and when that information is isolated for research, bioinformatics helps to store, analyze, and further study the data. Experts use computer technology to create formulas and tools that allow researchers to replicate analysis of biological data in their own work. A notable example of Bioinformatics at work is the Human Genome Project, an international, interdisciplinary research effort that extensively sequenced and mapped the human genome.


Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of bioinformatics work, it can be applied to multiple types of research. Including, but not limited to:


Advanced computing, mathematical formulation and technology can be used to aggregate the data mined from cancer research. Bioinformatics assistant scientist Tongjun Gu, Ph.D. developed an advanced deep learning method to stratify cancer patients into clinically relevant subgroups and further identify the potential biomarkers between the subgroups. This will help with the development of personalized treatments and prognosis.

Aging and the Brain

Researchers can be used to study the effects of time on the brain. Bioinformatics Scientific Director Alberto Riva, Ph.D. assisted the McKnight Brain Institute in a methylation study. Dr. Riva wrote a new methylation analysis tool, CSCALL, specifically designed to handle multiple replicates of each condition in an efficient and accurate way.

Viruses and Public Health

Comparing and analyzing viral strains and using the resulting information for vector control is a key public health strategy. Bioinformatics expert Dr. Fahong Yu and Gene Expression and Genotyping’s Scientific Director Dr. Yanping Zhang used high throughput DNA Sequencing performed in the ICBR Next Generation Sequencing Core to compare the gene expression patterns of two Florida Ae. aegypti strains in response to chikungunya virus infection.


The Bioinformatics Core at UF | ICBR is staffed by accessible experts with extensive experience in the field of bioinformatics with proficiency in genomics, transcriptomics and translational informatics in plant, animal and microbial systems. Skills include big data analysis, statistical analysis, software development and high-performance computing. UF | ICBR’s Bioinformatics experts provide more than just a service, but rather strive to be scientific collaborators.