As the field of biology has become more diverse and complex, so the field of computational biology has grown to support it. At the same time, as computational power and programming have become more sophisticated, computational biologists have stepped in as motivated and capable partners in the quest to understand disease. Today, computational biologists in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) take many different approaches to answer theoretical and experimental biological questions across a range of disciplines, including:
- Image Analysis: High-resolution optical imaging is a key to much of our biomedical research. Computers supply the advanced imaging methods and algorithms that allow us to view the human body from macro to nano.
- Biomodelling or Systems Biology: Computational biomodelling, or systems biology, is a computer-based simulation of a biological system used to understand and predict interactions within that system. Computers can model systems at any level, from populations to cellular networks and the sub-cellular worlds of signal transduction pathways and gene regulatory networks.
- Neuroscience: Computers are often compared to the brain, in terms of their ability to process information. So it’s no surprise that scientists use computers to further understand how this processing occurs.
- Bioinformatics: Biomedical science has experienced a recent increase in “-omics” research—genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.—and as a result has embraced computational methods designed to simplify the analysis of the enormous amounts of data associated with this type of research.
IRP Institutes and Centers have embraced computational biology, with many now having a dedicated computing core.