Nav: Home

When life sciences become data sciences

January 27, 2017

The University of Freiburg has set up infrastructure and services to support researchers across Europe in the fields of biology, medicine, and pharmacy with the analysis of very large data sets. The team led by Rolf Backofen, Professor of Bioinformatics at the Faculty of Engineering, has been coordinating the High Performance Computing Center since 2015; the center receives sponsorship of some 5.8 million euros from the German Ministry of Education and Research and is now being expanded into a Europe-wide service. This places the group at the forefront of networks in Germany and across Europe. "The interests of our users are paramount," says Backofen. "It is our aim to enable them to use powerful computers with the help of a simple-to-use online platform, so that they can analyze their data independently." The team gives researchers access not only to the mainframe, they also provide advice and workshops - all free of charge and on an open-source basis.

At the University of Freiburg, the focus is on the Galaxy Project, which arose as part of the collaborative research center "Medical Epigenetics." It was originally an online platform developed at Penn State University in the US, giving researchers the use of high-performance computing for their work. "The researchers upload their data and can then apply various analysis tools to it, or combine them, alter the parameters, change the data into the necessary format, and much more - all on one platform," Backofen explains. The ease of use is a major plus: Instead of developing programs as is usual in informatics, users can adjust all the settings for data analysis easily via a graphic control panel in their web browser.

Current methods for examining cell functions, for example in genomic research, produce vast data sets. Bioinformatics provides the toolkit with which researchers can process this data. RNA bioinformatics is one imporant focus of this research in Freiburg. Research in recent years has shown that ribonucleic acid or RNA plays a bigger role than previously thought: Along with the task of translating genetic information into proteins, RNA participates in all the cell's key processes. The University of Freiburg's RNA Bioinformatics Center is one of eight such facilities in the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (de.NBI), which is sponsored by the German Education and Research Ministry. Backofen and his team are working with the University's IT center in the project: That is where the high-performance computer NEMO is; and it has received a special bioinformatics-oriented extension with recent funding.

Since August 2016 the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure overall has become a hub for the European Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure ELIXIR. Rolf Backofen is one of its leading coordinators. Now Freiburg researchers are able to provide their service across Europe.

Rolf Backofen is a member of the collaborative research centers "Medical Epigenetics" and "Development, function and potential of myeloid cells in the central nervous system" as well as an associated member of the Freiburg excellence cluster, BIOSS Center for Biological Signalling Studies.
-end-
Galaxy Project video http://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/surprisingscience/surprisingsciencenews/bioinformatik-galaxy

Further information

Galaxy Projekt at the University of Freiburg http://galaxy.uni-freiburg.de

High-performance computing center at the University of Freiburg http://www.hpc.uni-freiburg.de

Professorial chair of Bioinformatics http://www.bioinf.uni-freiburg.de

German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure http://www.denbi.de

European Bioinformatics Infrastructure ELIXIR http://www.elixir-europe.org

University of Freiburg

Related Education Articles:

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.
The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.
Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.
How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.
Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.
Education interventions improve economic rationality
This study proves that education can be leveraged as a tool to help enhance an individual's economic decision-making quality, or economic rationality.
Protestantism still matters when it comes to education, study shows
A new academic study, the first of its kind, reveals a significant and positive historical legacy of Protestant religion in education around the world.
Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.
How does limited education limit young people?
A recent nationally-representative US Department of Education study found that 28 percent of fall 2009 ninth-graders had not yet enrolled in a trade school or college by February 2016 -- roughly six-and-a-half years later.
'Depression education' effective for some teens
In an assessment of their 'depression literacy' program, which has already been taught to tens of thousands, Johns Hopkins researchers say the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer.
More Education News and Education Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day
It began with a tweet: "EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY." Carl Zimmer – tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show – tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who uncovered its cure ... and gave us our best weapon (so far) against the current global pandemic. This episode was reported and produced with help from Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.