Computational biology

Computational biology

Computational biology research field

Computational Biology involves the application of mathematics, statistics, and computer science to the study of biology. The focus of our research is to make sense of biomedical data and biological systems. We use tools such as high performance computing with the aim of understanding and curing disease.

Computational biology research at the Institute

The disciplines of computational biology and bioinformatics play key roles in basic and translational research in the Institute. As well as having a dedicated Bioinformatics division, we have researchers with expertise in computational biology and bioinformatics embedded in many other divisions. The Centre for Computational Biology brings these research scientists together.

Our computational biology researchers are focused on:

  • Understanding the genetic drivers of cancer and how to cure it.
  • Developing computational methods to understand tumour evolution.
  • Understanding how immune cell populations grow and differentiate.
  • Analysing the genomes of disease-causing parasites, including the malaria parasite, Plasmodium spp, and the scabies mite, Sarcoptes scabiei.
  • Analysing the microbiomes of children at risk of type I diabetes.
  • Many other projects using computation to understand and cure human disease.

Key aspects of our computational biology program are:

  • Developing state-of-the-art high performance computing resources in the Institute.
  • Facilitating access to external computational resources.​

Dr Rory Bowden

Dr Rory Bowden photographed smiling at the camera
Genomics Laboratory Head and Centre Manager, WEHI Advanced Genomics Facility

Professor Phil Hodgkin

Professor Phil Hodgkin
Joint Division Head

Professor Tony Papenfuss

Tony Papenfuss
Laboratory Head; Leader, Computational Biology Theme

Professor Gordon Smyth

Professor Gordon Smyth writing on a whiteboard
Joint Division Head
Illustration of Milton, a research computing mascot

Milton is the interface for a high-performance research computing cloud enabling Institute scientists to process massive data sets from their research.

Three cancer researchers looking at a mobile device

Computational biology has enabled our researchers to develop a new method to identify melanoma patients with improved rates of survival.