Re: Let's discuss Bioinformatics

Phil Cunningham (
Fri, 19 Jan 1996 08:45:36 +0000 (GMT)

On Thu, 18 Jan 1996, Dr Alan Mills wrote:

> I'd like to kick this list into life by inviting course participants to
> give us their view of just what bioinformatics actually IS? People
> seem to have different perspectives, and I think it would instructive to
> hear them.

Hi Phil Cunningham King's College London (UK) here Hmmm.. nature of
Bioinformatics well my JOB TITLE is Senior Bioinformatics Officer,
which is a term I requested after moving from Computer Assisted Learning
to what I call support for molecular biology involving the use of computers.

One reason for the switch was the reluctance of 'lecturers' to commint
time to devising teaching materials, one of the complication of my
Bioinformatics role is that 'lecturers' are reluctant to commit time to
learning about computers so my role is BOTH computational molecular
biology and frequently introducing bench top scientist to 'computers'.

Back to the question Bioinformatics in my book (currently, mustn't be to
hard and fast here) is the use of computers to store, distribute and
analyse molecular sequence data , usually prot, DNA and RNA. The data is
clearly not JUST the sequence information, so Bioinformatics slides into
information retrieval at one 'end' and includes the latest wizz bang
algorithms from AI et al at the other extreme.

'Me I just sling 'GCG' at bits of cloned/sequenced DNA :-)'

More seriously, I've enjoyed (and struggled to keep up with) the
developments in sequence analysis pouring out from the HGMP (USA UK Japan
etc) and am intrigued by the potential (soon to be swamped?) of the
Internet to transmit (somewhat scatter gun like) information from pole to

Just my 2cents/pee worth