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Analyzing and Interpreting Cell Data

University of Freiburg to coordinate new Performance Center for Bioinformatics

Freiburg, Mar 13, 2015

Analyzing and Interpreting Cell Data

Stylized ribonucleic acid. Source: Department of Computer Science/University of Freiburg

New performance center for the Universities of Freiburg and Leipzig: Modern methods of investigating cell functions, for instance in genome research, involve the collection of an enormous amount of data, reaching into the terabyte range. The analysis and interpretation of this gigantic body of data present great challenges for the life sciences. The aim of the new RNA Bioinformatics Center (RBC), coordinated by Prof. Dr. Rolf Backofen, Chair of Bioinformatics at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Freiburg, is to close the gap between the accumulated data, analysis, and interpretation. The joint project of the Universities of Freiburg and Leipzig as well as the Max-Delbrück Center Berlin is one of six performance centers selected for funding by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and will receive 3.3 million euros in the next five years. It is part of the project “German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure,” which was launched on 1 March 2015.

For many decades, the life sciences remained focused on DNA – genetic information and proteins. In recent years, however, it has become evident that ribonucleic acid (RNA) plays a more important role than previously assumed: In addition to its task of converting genetic information into proteins, it is involved in all important processes of the cell. A dysfunction of RNA can lead to severe illnesses, including many types of cancer as well as diseases of the nervous system like autism or Alzheimer’s. This has motivated the development of numerous experimental methods for analyzing RNA-based data. These methods involve a lot of data, all of which needs to be managed and analyzed. “With the RBC, we want to establish a nationwide service center for scientists analyzing RNA data. Our aim is to create a platform combining various algorithms and work routines for the analysis of RNA data that is freely available as an open-source project,” explains Backofen.


Prof. Dr. Rolf Backofen
Chair of Bioinformatics
Department of Computer Science
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-7461

Natascha Thoma-Widmann
PR/Marketing Representative
Faculty of Engineering
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-8056

Printable version (pdf) of the press release.