Professor Among Select Few to Take Part in Bioinformatics Institute

Dr. Suzanne Lindley

The American Society for Microbiology has selected Dr. Suzanne Lindley, Associate Professor of Biology at Limestone College, to take part in its Bioinformatics Institute March 10-14 in Washington, DC.

Lindley is one of 22 professors who were selected to participate through competitive applications. Other institutions represented by participants are Duke University, the University of Minnesota, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Bioinformatics refers to the use of computers to handle voluminous amounts of biological information such as the human genome. With new technology, research scientists can more easily and efficiently store, search and characterize the genetic code of genes, the proteins linked to each gene and their associated functions.

While at the institute, participants will be introduced to questions related to genomics applicable to specific teaching situations, and to the powerful programs BLAST, an algorithm for comparing primary biological sequence information, and Pfam, a database containing information about protein domains and families. Lindley and her fellow participants will return to their campuses to share experiences with students. "The tools available through bioinformatics greatly increase the rate at which biological information can be accessed and analyzed," she said. "Many people say that we have already been through the computer revolution which transformed the way we do just about everything; I like to say that we are now living in the genetics revolution. For example, tools that are used in bioinformatics for molecular medicine will completely revolutionize the medicines we take. Today, if two people are prescribed the same medicine, it may affect one differently than the other. Bioinformatics, among other things, will enable scientists to design medicines specifically for a person's individual system.