Enabling connections across levels of analysis not possible at an experimental scale
The Challenge: Big data is everywhere – and the biosciences are no exception. Bioinformatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data, and integration across levels of analysis (genome to phenome). Bioinformatics is an especially integral part of understanding omics, and the need for strong bioinformatics undergirds other BIO5 research emphasis areas such as imaging, wearable technology, and ecosystem genomics. Big data approaches reveal patterns in data that are not evident through experimental analysis alone, and enable the connection across levels of analysis not possible at an experimental scale.
UA Advantage: Several recent investments by UA leave this field poised for major growth. The new NSF-sponsored CyVerse consortium (an outgrowth of iPlant) and Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics bring strengths in extracting actionable knowledge from large data sets that span multiple levels of analysis. The UA’s partnership with Banner Health means that enormous amounts of de-identified health records data are available for researchers to seek novel associations that drive subsequent experimental and drug discovery work. New transdisciplinary teams are exploring using these approaches in predicting asthma events in advance to enable health care services to rapidly adjust to environmentally induced outbreaks. Bio-informatics is synergistic with the growth in omics, as clearly the former enables the practical application of the latter. BIO5 will further build the bioinformatics infrastructure to enable the highest quality and most rigorous collaborative bioresearch capabilities and outcomes.