Bioinformatics is a branch of biological science that deals with the study of methods for storing, retrieving, and analyzing large sets of biological data.
In March 2012, a bioinformatics core facility at PILM was established to provide computational support to PILM investigators to study normal brain functions and neurological disorders.
In the Big Data Era, high-throughput quantitative methods (next-generation sequencing, microarray, LC/MS and etc.) provide an unbiased systematic view of different perturbations. With a large number of human genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data already deposited to the public domains, integrated data mining becomes extremely useful to identify potential genetic targets and/or biological pathways for bench scientist to further validate and characterize in model systems.
The facility has been constructed to utilize on-campus computational resources to run high-throughput quantitative data analysis, with particular focus on analyzing transcriptomic and epigenomic data generated from human brain / blood tissues, iPSC-based in-vitro models, and rodent-based in-vivo models. In a collaborative manner, the facility has provided technical supports of data analysis, data visualization and data deposition for different bioinformatics projects.
Since April 2015, the facility has started to host bioinformatics workshops to train BCS graduate students and post-docs to utilize publicly available resources for data processing, analysis and visualization. Workshops highlight different themes ranging from next generation genomic DNA profiling to transcriptomic profiling (RNA-Seq) to protein network analysis and visualization.
Since March 2016, the facility has also started to provide in-house bioinformatics resources (neural-bioinformatics database and several web-based bioinformatics tools) to the MIT neuroscience community.