The mission of the Bioinformatics Facility is to support the continuing research and education mission of The Wistar Institute and to grow and evolve in response to emerging research needs.
The Bioinformatics Facility is located in the Center for Systems and Computational Biology, which provides a state-of-the-art server room, office space, and educational and conference room space. The Facility provides Cancer Center investigators with database management, software application support, expertise in statistical analyses and computational modeling of biomedical research data and has recently grown to include statistical specialists and programmers as well as computational biologists. The Facility is supported and advised by members of the Center for Systems and Computational Biology.
Functions of the Facility reflect the research requirements of the three Cancer Center programs and are broadly divided into three areas: (i) data-management; (ii) statistical analyses and computational modeling; and (iii) advanced bioinformatics tools for integrative cancer biology. Typical data analyses include large scale information datasets (omics data), generated by high-throughput technologies addressing the following complex area:
- Genome sequencing (alternate splicing, RNA editing, mutation detection);
- Gene regulation (ChIP-chip, ChIP-seq, epigenetic profiling, promoter methylation arrays);
- Biomarkers (e.g. mRNA and miRNA microarray expression data);
- Proteomic analyses (mass spectrometry-based spectra, LCMS, DIGE, etc.);
- Polymorphism genotyping (e.g. Single Nucleotide [SNP] and Copy Number variations [CGH], LOH).
The Facility has placed a high priority on integrating cancer research information representing a variety of data types, including clinical data, microarray data, massively-parallel sequence data, protein data, RT-PCR and functional assays. Data security is a primary focus of the Bioinformatics Facility in designing and implementing software systems.