Advances in the field of molecular biology and genomic technologies have led to an explosive growth in available biological data. The use of information technology methods for the analysis of this data is becoming extensive. Very interesting from an algorithmical point of view is the research area of phylogenetics, where the evolutionary relationship among various groups of organisms is sought. Mitochondrial gene order data is an especially fruitful source for inferring the phylogenetic relationship of eukaryotes, as it can usually be represented as relatively small permutations. Based on biologically motivated rearrangement operations that reflect the evolution of mitogenomes, the problems of how to compute the evolutionary distance of species, how to infer ancestral genomes for a set of given genomes, or how to map rearrangement events to the edges of a given phylogenetic tree, arise. In addition to several relevant theoretical results we have used our methods, for example, to thoroughly analyze and explain the evolutionary history of echinoderms. In the very related field of co-phylogeny, the given phylogenetic trees of hosts and parasites are analyzed in order to investigate whether there exists co-evolution.
A further research focus of the group lies in structural biology. Problems in life science and biotechnology such as, for instance, protein folding, the interactions of drug-like molecules with their respective receptors, or the structure-activity relationship of enzymes, comprise energy landscapes, that depend on the degrees of freedom of the system. The analysis and understanding of the topologies of such landscapes enable scientists to decipher on-going biochemical processes in an accurate way.
The main goals of the bioinformatics group are the development of sophisticated algorithms and data structures, where we strongly emphasize interdisciplinarity and internationality in our research. This is reflected in contacts to many other institutions, including:
- CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai, China
- Institute of Theoretical Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria
- Parallel Computing and Complex Systems Group, University of Leipzig, Germany
- Bioinformatics Research Center (BiRC), Aarhus University, Danmark
- Centre for Molecular and Biomolecular Informatics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands
|Lene Monrad Favrholdt|
|Jakob Lykke Andersen|