Bioinformatica homepage internet Erasmus DNAIn general the field of Bioinformatics derives knowledge from computer analysis of biological data. This data can consist of the information stored in nucleotide or amino acid sequences, but also of results from various experiments, data mining and scientific literature.

Research in bioinformatics includes method development for storage, retrieval and analysis of the data. Bioinformatics is highly interdisciplinary, using techniques and concepts from biology, computer science, statistics, mathematics, chemistry, physics and medicine.

The focus of the Erasmus MC Department of Bioinformatics, headed by prof. dr. Peter van der Spek, is increasingly on the aspects of personalized medicine and next generation sequencing. In addition to in house sequencing with Illumina technology, the Erasmus MC also utilizes next generation sequencing technology from Complete Genomics Inc. to identify genetic variations associated with human disease at a higher resolution and greater sensitivity than previously possible. This technology is a powerful tool for the diagnosis of genetic diseases (e.g. syndromes, congenital malformations) as well as for the understanding of the onset of cancer and for patient stratification. In the future next generation sequencing will play a role in the understanding of complex diseases and genomic variations will be studied in the relation to differences in treatment response.


The unraveling of the genetic information encoded in the DNA of human cells generates a rapid progress in understanding the roles of our genes in health and disease. Over the years, Erasmus MC made important contributions in this field. Nowadays, further progress requires the introduction of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for analyzing the enormous quantities of data involved.

In 2003, taking up this challenge, Erasmus MC took the first steps in order to establish a  Center for Bioinformatics. Located in the heart of the biomedical research activities of  Erasmus MC, this high-tech bioinformatics department is equipped with a state of the art hard- and software. In collaboration with  Vogel-viewother departments the center’s multidisciplinary team supports projects that generate genetics, genomics and proteomics data from basic research, forensics studies, molecular diagnostics and clinical trials.

The center also runs a research program of its own, which provides the biological and  technological basis of all the other activities. The research focuses on the way the genome as a whole contributes to the evolution, development, structure and function of the brain. It involves analysis of gene expression in cells of the brain and combines genomics, proteomics and cytogenetic data to identify genes associated with neurological and craniofacial disorders.