Genome-wide analysis of KLF4 gene regulation in 8 diverse cell types (ENCODE project). Courtesy of Dr. Ira Hall.

Researchers in Bioinformatics and Genomics at UVA use quantitative methods to describe the behavior of genes, genomes, and biological systems.

At the intersection of experimental and computational biology, genomics research involves interpretation and integration of large-scale, genome-wide datasets.

These approaches are being applied to diverse topics in biology and medicine including cancer genomics, human and model organism genetics, epigenetics, and evolution. Active areas of research at the University of Virginia include whole-genome sequencing, cancer genome evolution, disease gene mapping, personalized medicine, gene expression profiling, epigenome mapping, high-throughput functional genetics, genome annotation, protein evolution, and pathway reconstruction.

Genomics and bioinformatics research often requires the development of new techniques, including both experimental protocols and data analysis algorithms, to enable a deeper understanding of complex biological systems. In this respect, the field is entering a new and exciting era; rapidly improving “next-generation” DNA sequencing technologies now allow for the routine sequencing of entire genomes and transcriptomes, or of virtually any targeted set of DNA or RNA molecules.

The exponential explosion of genomic data fueled by these technologies presents an unprecedented opportunity to elucidate the molecular underpinnings of natural variation and human disease, but the sheer abundance and complexity of these data also pose significant and unsolved bioinformatic challenges. The scope of these opportunities and challenges promises to revolutionize biology and medicine.