September 7 – 11 , 1992, Dagstuhl Seminar 9237

Molecular Bioinformatics


T. Lengauer, D. Schomburg, M.S. Waterman

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Dagstuhl-Seminar-Report 46


Molecular Bioinformatics is a notion that one can assign to an area in applied computer science which is rapidly gaining significance. Roughly, this area is concerned with the development of methods and tools for analyzing, understanding, reasoning about and, eventually, designing large biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins with the aid of the computer.

With the knowledge in molecular biology increasing at an explosive rate, and data on genomes and their products being collected at tremendous speeds. Mololecular Bioinformatics becomes an important challenge to applied computer scientists.

Before this background, the Dagstuhl Seminar on Molecular Bioinformatics brought together experts from all over the world that are working on algorithmic issues in this field. The Workshop was interdisciplinary, with people from molecular biology, computer science, and applied mathematics attending. The workshop focussed on the following topics:

  • Alignment of biomolecular sequences (DNA, RNA, Proteins),
  • Modeling of large biomolecules, including the prediction and analysis of secondary and higher-level structure as well as spatial conformations (folding),
  • Molecular dynamics and simulations of interactions between biomolecules,
  • Interpreting nucleotide sequences and their role in gene regulation,
  • Reading genomic sequences.

Besides the presentations, there were two organized evening discussion sessions on the topics PAM matrices and Computer-Aided Drug Design.

The experiment of bringing together researchers with widely varying backgrounds to discuss an exciting new interdisciplinary field was successful. The attendees discussed lively and often controversially, developed a sense of identity for the new field during the workshop, and went back home with new insights, problems and ideas. For the German researchers, the workshop was an ideal preparation for forming cooperations within the new funding program Molecular Bioinformatics that had just been announced by the BMFT (German Ministery for Research and Technology). A few participants evaluated the workshop as their "most productive workshop experience".

We are especially grateful to the Dagstuhl office and team for their excellent organization in preparing and conducting the workshop, as well as their always engaged and personal support in all matters. The cordial atmosphere in the Schloß was an essential ingredient of the success of this workshop. We are also grateful to NSF for providing a grant for financial support. of intercontinental travel of the U.S. based participants of this workshop.

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