The New Scientists
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the explosion of new knowledge that has come from the sequencing
of more than 100 genomes, including the human genome, says Professor
of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics C. Fred Fox, “we know
the blueprint of life for many, many different organisms. But what
do we do now with this massive amount of data?”
holds the key, dealing with the computational management of biological
information to allow scientists to analyze this flood of data. Extracting
information about genes and the proteins they make could lead to
new drug treatments and a more individualized practice of medicine.
are preparing graduate students — mathematicians, computer
scientists and biologists — to develop new computational strategies
and applications to mine this genetic data. In one project, a biologist
is working with students to define the mechanisms by which plants
respond to the shortening or lengthening of days. By manipulating
the data, one student, Todd Mockler Ph.D. ’02, found a whole
family of proteins that are predicted to respond to the changes
can this be applied? You could use this information to control the
flowering of plants or their growth process,” Fox suggests.
a biologist with three years’ experience in the biotech field,
entered the IGERT program in his fourth year of graduate work. He
now works at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla,
Calif., where he occupies an unusual research niche: He is a plant
biologist who can use bioinformatics to make predictions about plants,
then turn around to do the biological experiments to test his theories.
gave me the opportunity to work at the interface of biology and
bioinformatics. I was right in the middle of it, able to operate
in both fields,” Mockler says.