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For more information, please contact the Director of the Bioinformatics Program:

Dr. Joel Benington
jbening@sbu.edu
(716) 375-2564
 De La Roche 220 D

Bioinformatics

Where does some of the most exciting science occur? It’s at the intersection of traditionally distinct fields. Fields like bioinformatics—merging computer science, mathematics, and biology—create new niches that traditionally trained scientists find difficult to fill.

As one example, the recent sequencing and analysis of the genomes of dozens of species has provided an avalanche of information straining old information systems. Computer scientists, mathematicians and information specialists have already invented many new systems which have helped to shed light on the evolution and functioning of life on Earth. Extracting further insights from this explosion of biological information will continue to require expertise in each of the areas contributing to the field of bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics serves both as a tool for biologists and as a challenge for the computer scientist. Biologists use off-the-shelf software, often in extremely clever ways, to suggest what experiments they should do, while computer scientists search for new algorithms to extract meaning from a flood of biological information,” said Dr. Joel Benington, professor of biology and director of the Bioinformatics Program at St. Bonaventure.

Bioinformatics and Gene Mutation
 
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. Kelly Stoneham (class of `08) and Dr. John Kupinski (Department of Biology) studied genetic variation at a gene linked to the occurrence of ovarian cancer. After sequencing DNA from both normal and tumorous cell lines, they aligned the sequences using bioinformatics software Reverse Complement, Merger, and Multiple Sequence Alignment-ClustalW. Gaps in the alignments show where the healthy genes differ from the mutated ones. The above image, which shows portions of the aligned DNA sequences, was taken with permission from a summary of Stoneham and Kupinski's work.

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