The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program has transitioned from Common Fund support. For more information, please visit the websites for the individual National Centers for Biomedical Computing posted on the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program homepage.
Please note that since the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program is no longer supported by the Common Fund, the program website is being maintained as an archive and will not be updated on a regular basis.
Biology has always been a haven for microscopes, test tubes, and Petri dishes, but this conventional picture of the field is expanding rapidly. Sophisticated techniques adapted from physics, chemistry, and engineering enable scientists to use computers and robots to separate molecules in solution, read genetic information, reveal the three-dimensional shapes of natural molecules like proteins, and take pictures of the brain in action. All of these techniques generate large amounts of data, and biology is changing fast into a science of information management.
Today's biomedical researcher routinely generates an amount of data that would fill multiple compact discs, each containing billions of bytes of data. (A byte is approximately the amount of information contained in an individual letter of type on this page.) There is no way to manage these data by hand. Researchers need computer programs and other tools to evaluate, combine, and visualize these data. In some cases, these tools will benefit from the awesome strength of supercomputers or the combined power of many smaller machines. In other cases, these tools will be used on modern personal computers connected to data and resources in the cloud.
The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology took shape in the National Centers for Biomedical Computing. Through this program, the NIH Common Fund supported 8 Centers with research covering: biophysical modeling, biomedical ontologies, information integration tools for gene-phenotype and disease analysis, systems biology, image analysis, and health information modeling and analysis.
Individual scientists were funded to collaborate with the Centers on a series of "driving biological projects" with the intent of fostering interactions between computational and biomedical researchers.
Near the end of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program, the funded researchers and NIH staff met for a two-day NCBCs Showcase to share the achievements made by the individual Centers and to discuss the future of the field of Computational Biology. The presentations and discussions were recorded and archived. View the NCBCs Showcase Day 1 and Day 2!