What is bioinformatics?

  • As a discipline that builds upon the fields of computer and information science, bioinformatics relies heavily upon strategies to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyze, and visualize data.
  • As a discipline that builds upon computational biology, bioinformatics encompasses the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.
  • As a discipline that builds upon the life, health, and medical sciences, bioinformatics supports medical informatics; gene mapping in pedigrees and population studies; functional-, structural-, and pharmaco-genomics; proteomics, and dozens of other evolving “-omics.”
  • As a discipline that builds upon the basic sciences, bioinformatics depends on a strong foundation of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, biology, genetics, and molecular biology which allows interpretation of biological data in a meaningful context.
  • As a discipline whose core is mathematics and statistics, bioinformatics applies these fields in ways that provide insight to make the vast, diverse, and complex life sciences data more understandable and useful, to uncover new biological insights, and to provide new perspectives to discern unifying principles.

In short, bioinformaticians (or bioinformaticists) bring a multidisciplinary perspective to many of the critical problems facing the health-science profession today.