Research Laboratory - The Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory
The Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory of the School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University is engaged in the development of efficient algorithms which should eventually enable computers to automatically predict the biological function of proteins, peptides and drugs and their mutual interactions. The need to introduce advanced Computer Science based techniques into Molecular Biology, Computational Chemistry and Biotechnology became evident a few decades ago. The recent developments in the Human Genome project have forcefully demonstrated the efficacy of state of the art computational techniques to handle the huge quantities of genomic data obtained. The information revealed by this project is one-dimensional and supplies us with long strings of letters representing the composition of genes and their major products - the proteins. However, this is only part of the picture. Biological molecules fold into unique intricate three-dimensional shapes, which enable to predict their activity. The next major step after the Genome project is concentrated in an effort to elucidate and exploit the three-dimensional shapes of the proteins. Analysis of these shapes should supply the next quantum leap in the understanding of molecular function. The Structural Bioinformatics Lab is recognized world wide as one of the leaders in the development of advanced structural protein alignment and protein-protein shape docking algorithms.
By its nature the research is interdisciplinary and is done in full collaboration with the Laboratory of Prof. Ruth Nussinov from the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine. This joint research group was established in 1989 and currently involves about 20 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, half of whom are from the School of Computer Science and the other half from the Faculty of Medicine. The Lab cooperates with the Computational Biology Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute of the US, the IBM Research Computational Biology center and with Israeli pharmaceutical companies. It is involved in industry-academy consortia sponsored by the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and trade and has received grants from the Israel Academy of Science, the Ministry of Science and the Binational US-Israel Science foundation. It is part of the Excellence Center for Geometric Computing established in the School of Computer Sciencel by the Israeli National Science Foundation. The principal investigators and the students of the Lab are actively involved in the new undergraduate Bioinformatics program established at Tel Aviv University.
The lab is supervised by: Prof. Haim Wolfson.