Research group’s website: uwaterloo.ca/bioinformatics-group/
Group’s contact person: Ming Li
Other University of Waterloo Departments
Scientists have developed high-throughput tools to probe the inner workings of living cells. Technologies that obtain sequence information from DNA, RNA and protein molecules work in conjunction with tools such as X-ray devices, nuclear magnetic resonance machines and cryo-electron microscopy to reveal the three-dimensional conformation of these molecules. More recent technologies — such as next-generation DNA, RNA and protein sequencing along with mass spectrometry — strive to investigate the interactions between the various proteins and genes within a cell. The result of these investigations is the production of huge amounts of data.
The objective of bioinformatics is to store, retrieve, manipulate, visualize, analyze, integrate and interpret data from a variety of data sources so we can fully understand the vast array of processes that occur in living cells, as well as understand Earth’s biodiversity by revealing species, together with their dynamics and interactions.
For human health, understanding the disease pathway is essential to treat the more than 6,000 genetic disorders along with cancers and Alzheimer’s disease and many communicable diseases. Applications of this knowledge include drug design and medical diagnostic procedures. Similarly, understanding the biological processes of other species including microorganisms will provide insights relevant in agriculture, biotechnology and fundamental biology.