Left: View of a bacterial chemotaxis receptor showing the location of the transmembrane helices (red and blue). Note the separation between ligand-binding sites in the periplasmic domain (L) and the secondary binding sites in the cytoplasmic domain (M and S). Right: View showing the hypothetical sliding motion of two transmembrane helices.
From “Signal Transduction: Proteins in Motion” by Mark Gerstein and Cyrus Chothia
The Bioinformatics Revolution
The past few years have witnessed a revolution in the biological sciences. Exciting and efficient new approaches have become available for the analysis of entire genomes (the complete genetic program of an organism) and proteomes (the entire set of proteins encoded by an organism), and the analysis of large data sets. A critical direction of future biological research will be to determine the function of the many genes identified by the genome analysis of these different organisms, how the many different genes are regulated, and how they work together to mediate complex biological processes at the molecular level. In particular, the systematic acquisition of data made possible by genomics technologies has created a tremendous gap between available data and their biological interpretation. Given the rate of data generation, it is well recognized that this gap will not be closed with direct individual experimentation. Computational and theoretical approaches to understanding biological systems provide a key inroad into closing this gap. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics is a new field where biological problems are addressed using these data with computational, theoretical, and genomics techniques. Activities in this field include: biological modeling, genomic analysis, database and data-mining, algorithm development and high-performance computing, statistical and mathematical analyses, as well as computational management of large-scale projects.
The Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Track combines research training opportunities in a range of different fields within the biological sciences in addition to the computational sciences, biostatistics, and applied mathematics. The scope and balance of a student’s program are highly individualized. Each student in the Track develops, with the assistance of faculty advisers, a specific program of course work, independent reading, and research that gives a breadth and depth of coverage and fits his or her individual background, interests, and career goals. Visit the CBB website.