As the name Center for Computational Biology implies, our main focus is on computational biology. Our objectives in this area are to apply computational and mathematical approaches to the study of genes, cells, and systems, as well as the whole brain. By incorporating information beyond the three spatial dimensions normally utilized in representations of biology, we have been able to model dynamic processes in space. This enables the researcher to model structural changes that occur over prolonged periods, such as development, aging, or disease processes, as well as functional changes that occur more rapidly, as in genetic and metabolic processes.
The Computational Atlas
We are creating a Computational Atlas with a database-like infrastructure that rests on mathematical advances in modeling and optimization. This design provides a general kind of infrastructure for bioscience, with the potential to be useful in other disciplines. Like traditional atlases, the Computational Atlas comprises a set of maps, with the difference that the maps of the Computational Atlas lay out scientific information. It is a database-like system that permits researchers to collaboratively combine, compare, edit, browse, and query scientific information.
The establishment of the CCB has set new standards in the analysis of biological data as well as amalgamated the fragmentation that naturally occurs among sub-specialties and academic departments. For example, the utilization of computational approaches enables us to consider other co-varying data and complex models of biological systems in concert with the primary data. Further, the ability to integrate data from different methodologies, subjects, laboratories, and, ultimately, species provides the statistical power to model subtle effects of normal or abnormal processes from the gene to the whole organ.