Biological informatics (bioinformatics) concerns the analysis and interpretation of various types of data including nucleotide and amino acid sequences, protein domains, and protein structures. Informatics helps us to understand and organize different types of information, and to see patterns in the information. The Bioinformatics Core aims to provide expert consultation by developing informatics strategy for analysis of complex data sets for RI-INBRE-supported investigators, and educate faculty and students regarding bioinformatics approaches for their research in the RI-INBRE thematic areas.
A wide variety of software and hardware applications are utilized in the analysis and interpretation of informatics data. Access to commercial bioinformatics software installed on Dell workstations at URI has been granted to RI-INBRE investigators at URI and PUIs. However, the algorithms that analyze sequence repositories are typically web-based as are the databases that are relevant to these sequences. It is anticipated that there will be less dependence on commercially available software packages and a move towards freely available, internet-based, state-of-the-art tools that are linked to the most recent sequence and data repositories worldwide. Moreover, free and open source software are being developed and increasingly becoming applicable to many bioinformatics applications. RI-INBRE investigators are encouraged to utilize these software. The Core is committed to supporting investigators by providing consultations, training sessions, and workshops on the use of open-source software. For example, CHIMERA for visualization and Auto-Dock for docking studies are free software that are in use at the Bioinformatics Core.