The bioinformatics group focuses on the development of new methods and programs aiming to help solving molecular biology problems. It includes analysis of nucleotide and protein sequences and structures. In addition we work on problems within functional genomics and especially on the analysis of data on the activity of genes and gene products (proteins). General techniques from a variety of fields are being used, including algorithm development, formal languages, database- and knowledge technology.
Bioinformatics - an interdisciplinary field with challenges and opportunities
Bioinformatics comprise development and use of methods from computer science, statistics, physics, chemistry to approach problems in molecular biology. At the University of Bergen, the activity was initiated around 1990 by researchers at the Department of Informatics (II) and the Molecular Biology Department (MBI). Today II offer several courses directed towards last-year bachelor students as well as master and PhD students. These are courses focusing on informatics aspects mainly algorithms and machine learning. MBI offer courses in applied bioinformatics. The two departments aim to develop a joint bachelor study program in bioinformatics.
A large part of the research activity in bioinformatics at UiB takes place in the Computational Biology Unit (CBU) established in 2002. This hosts several research groups that focus on molecular biology research questions and address these using computational methods developing and develop new methods in this context. The CBU also hosts a service group that serves users from the community of biological and biomedical researchers in need of bioinformatics in their own research. CBU coordinates a National Technology Platform funded by the FUGE program from the Research Council of Norway providing services and training to the Norwegian functional genomics researchers.
The groups at II, MBI, and CBU are co-located and together constitute the largest bioinformatics research community in Norway (staff of more than 30).
All bioinformatics students need to have basic training in both biology and informatics but most will focus most on one of these disciplines in choosing their courses and their projects.