About the BioInformatics Zone

One way to visualise a lot of data! This shows the interaction network of all the proteins in the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Image by: TGAC

We live in the era of data: we store hundreds of messages, game scores, pictures and Facebook posts in our phones and computers… and biologists are not lagging behind.

With the technologies available today, they can get all sorts of information: there are microscopes which can take thousands of pictures in less than an hour, enormous collections of drugs to be tested… and, can you imagine the amount of information that doctors store from all the medical tests patients need to take?

But how is all this information managed? How do scientists make sense of it? All these data need to be organised and analysed. And this is exactly what bioinformaticians do.

The scientists in this zone use computer science and maths to read and translate biological data. All the information is later stored in giant databases, which are often shared with the scientists living all around the world. This means that a scientist in the UK might be analysing data generated on the other side of the planet! Looking into these growing collections of data often requires the use of super-computers.

In the Bioinformatics Zone you will meet scientists doing very different things: some of them use big gene libraries to identify diseases, others write computer programmes to make sense of all the data, or they come out with the best way to share all the information recorded. Perhaps there are some questions that you want to ASK them?

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