Welcome to the Mainlab at Washington State University
What is bioinformatics and why do we think it's so exciting?
Broadly speaking, bioinformatics can be considered as the application of information technology, statistics and mathematics to the storage, management, processing, analysis, integration, dissemination and visualization of DNA data. More simply put, bioinformaticists are computational biologists who work with large-scale biological data to help elucidate how organisms function. Bioinformatics directly contributes toward the production of healthier foods, more sustainable agriculture and a better understanding of the basic biology and molecular evolution of species.
For the Mainlab, our bioinformatics research interests translate into a rather diverse range of projects which include DNA comparative analyses to figure out what makes a peach different from an apple or an orange; bioinformatic analyses to tease out the genes that can make cacao trees resistant to the devastating diseases that threaten our chocolate supply and the livelihood of millions of farmers in developing countries; and developing tools that enable basic, translational and applied researchers to easily access and interogate all the available data relevant to their research needs. A rather lovely outcome is that we get to collaborate with many other scientists including molecular biologists, geneticists, physiologists, breeders, extension experts and other bioinformaticians.