Center for Research Computing Supports Biological Research

The Center for Research Computing (CRC) held its monthly symposium on October 21, featuring Fred Hagen, Ph.D., Director of the University of Rochester Proteomics Core Facility.  The focus of the symposium was to discuss experimental and computational tools used for the identification of proteins, in particular peptide sequences, to better understand biology and disease processes.  In order to achieve the best computational analysis of peptides, researchers use a mass spectrometer, which is an analytical instrument for determining the composition of molecules based on their masses.

The use of the mass spectrometer is the first step in the process.  Once the peptide fragments are generated, a statistical comparison is made between the data and a database of known peptide sequences. The large amount of data retrieved can take a substantial amount of time to process.  Therefore, researchers require accelerated access to this information for comparison and further analysis. According to Hagen, “published protein sequence databases are obtainable through search engines, which are now available on a new server in the CRC.” The CRC’s data housed on the new BlueHive Linux cluster, combined with search engines from outside organizations, allows for maximum coverage when retrieving the protein data.

The CRC is currently working on the automation of file transfer and data conversion to the mass spectrometer.  This process will create a more efficient and streamlined method for storing and retrieving information, which will be extremely beneficial for current and future research projects at the University of Rochester.

The CRC will host the next symposium on Friday, November 18 from 11:30a.m. to 1:00p.m. in the K-307 Auditorium (room 3-6408) at the Medical Center.  The featured speaker will be Stephen Welle, Ph.D., Director of the Functional Genomics Center. Welle will give a talk on computational issues in genomics research.  Visit the CRC’s website for more details.