J. K. Wickiser Lab

Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is the science of using computational means to study difficult biological problems generally with a hallmark of a tremendous amount of data that would overwhelm a traditional approach.

The field of bioinformatics has exploded over the last decade and one result is that libraries of useful programming modules exist in many different languages; these modules are oftentimes freely available over the internet.

In fact, the US government has enough interest in furthering bioinformatics that it has established the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a web portal that offers computational biology tools as well as serves as a repository for biological data.

Some other Bioinformatical resources

We are interested in fully realizing the potential of having a high throughput sequencer in the department of Chemistry and Life Science. In order to deal with the deluge of biological data, computational techniques must be developed and practiced.  We are interested in a systems biology approach to several difficult biological problems such as adaptive coloration exhibited by cuttlefish and the amino sugar metabolism in prokaryotes. To study these problems that involve the analysis of networks of genes, metabolites, and gene products, we will harness the power of computational biology and in doing so, will train cadets to both develop novel computational algorithms as well as to use adapt current computational modules to use in our experiments.

http://www.r-project.org/

As an example, one such area of study is the data from gene expression microarrays. We intend to generate gene expression analysis tools for the cuttlefish,
Sepia officinalis, in order to elucidate the genes involved in distinguishing Leucophore cells from other chromatophores in the skin.  Agilent’s GeneSpring GX is a powerful program comprising of a collection of bioinformatical tools designed
to ease the processing and analysis of raw microarray data.

http://www.chem.agilent.com/Scripts/PDS.asp?lPage=27881