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Digital transformation of biology: Exploring the AI future in Europe

Central to biological science going forwards is with finding ways to bridge people with different skills in biological research.

Life in the lab. — Image by © Tim Sandle
Life in the lab. — Image by © Tim Sandle

Discoveries made when biology meets computational sciences are revolutionising the landscape of life sciences and healthcare. Computational biology and bioinformatics are driving this transformation.

Computational biology is the science that answers the question “How can we learn and use models of biological systems constructed from experimental measurements?”

Progress made in the field is helping researchers to analyse vast amounts of biological data. To meet this challenge is essential, since the volume of data in modern life sciences research has increased considerably in recent years. This means improved methods are continuously needed to understand the data.

Using computational tools to interpret biological data and harnessing artificial intelligence have become crucial in, for example, modern medical research. Hence, biological science has undergone its own digital transformation.

An example is with bioinformatics, which is the scientific subdiscipline that involves using computer technology to collect, store, analyse and disseminate biological data and information.

Central to biological science going forwards is with finding ways to bridge people with different skills in biological research, data management and scientific computing.

An example of how biologists are addressing the data expansion can be found at the European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB), Europe’s main event in computational biology and bioinformatics. The event takes place at Turku, Finland, on 16–20 September 2024.

The theme for 2024 is: “Data and algorithms for health and science”. The conference will embrace computational biology, systems biology, bioinformatics, AI, biology, and medicine.

Central to the discussions will be debates over how data can be transformed into biological knowledge through the development and use of computational methods and tools.

One expert speaking at the event is Professor Peer Bork, Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Heidelberg, who will be presenting on “Microbiome analysis for human and planetary health”. Another is Professor Sarah Teichmann, Head of Cellular Genetics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, who is addressing “Mapping the human body, one cell at a time.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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