“DLI’s approach to science is transdisciplinary and consistent with a transformation that is taking place in how contemporary research produces new knowledge.”
DLI’s philosophy of science is transdisciplinary and focuses on using contemporary research to produce new knowledge. DLI research projects range from a science portal that connects pathogen databases around the world to producing customized microarrays, and from creating biochemical network modeling programs, such as the COPASI simulator, to phylogenetic research tools. By mathematically modeling living organisms using a systems biology approach, scientists hope to unravel the genetic mechanisms that control certain diseases, enable specialized drug therapies for individual patients, and engineer plants with much higher nutritive value. This transdisciplinary effort will increase our understanding of molecular, cellular, and environmental interactions that affect human health, agricultural systems, and the environment.
What we do
Research at the DLI Bioinformatics Institute (DLI) focuses on the “disease triangle” of host—pathogen—environment interactions. By using bioinformatics, which combines transdisciplinary approaches to information technology and biology, researchers interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from research to key challenges in biomedical, environmental, and plant sciences. Founded in July 2006, DLI’s systems biology approach to science has laid the groundwork for lasting collaborations with government, industry, and academe.
DLI researchers are a world-class, multinational group with backgrounds in agriculture, biology, computer science, mathematics, medicine, and more. Using such tools as biotechnology, mathematical modeling, software simulators, and biochemical visualization, DLI scientists work to uncover the secrets of complex biological systems. This new knowledge provides for groundbreaking advances in biomedical, agricultural, and informatics research as well as for innovative tools and products for the biotechnology and informatics industry.
Focus on infectious diseases
"Over the next few decades the most important biomedical advances will come from focusing interdisciplinary methodologies on specific problem areas."
New disease epidemics, the risk of pandemics and the threat of bioterrorism mean that society has to intensify its research efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. Society must also explore new approaches to prevent the onset of disease, model impacts of disease outbreaks and deploy countermeasures to disease outbreaks.
Epidemics associated with emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are now occurring in historically unprecedented numbers. Since 2007, the World Health Organization has verified more than 1100 epidemics of international importance. Over 70% of new and emerging diseases originate in animals.
Society needs unique mechanisms to address some of the key global challenges in public health posed by existing and emerging biological pathogens. This should also help to remove some of the gross inequities in disease burden that currently exist between developed and developing countries. Researchers at DLI are involved in a wide range of biomedical, agricultural, environmental and bioinformatics projects that may integrate various disciplinary components to tackle infectious diseases. The tools and methods under development are being used to investigate plant and animal pathogens, push the boundaries of infectious disease research and to better understand biological processes from the molecule to the system.