Defining Bioinformatics

Innovation in biomedicine depends on innovation in detecting complex associations between increasingly higher-dimensional datasets. Providing this innovation is the core task of bioinformatics and is largely independent of the field of application. The Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics views the ultimate goal of bioinformatics as combining all data types into a global association scheme that links patient behavior and outcomes to disease risk and progression, as probed by the full spectrum of available measurements.

Bioinformatics has now eclipsed the often narrower understanding of being the ‘computational branch of genetics and genomics’ and is becoming an overarching science of biomedical information processing. The launch of a new academic medical center department without ties to historical preconceptions of the term ‘bioinformatics’ provides us with an opportunity to establish a transformative intellectual and technical infrastructure that deploys to biomedicine innovative information science in the broadest sense.

Composed of "integrator" and "innovator" faculty, a robust graduate education program, a Bioinformatics Core Facility, and a high-performance computing structure, the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics functions as an integrator unit in the center of UTSW’s research mission.