Computational biologists combine findings in biology with computer algorithms and databases to conduct biological research on powerful computers, using sophisticated software — so-called “dry” laboratories — in ways that complement and strengthen traditional laboratory and clinical research. The aim is to build computer models that simulate biological processes from the molecular level up to the organism as a whole and to use these models to make useful predictions.
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Computational biology can help interpret detailed molecular profiles of cancerous and noncancerous cells, molecular response profiles of therapeutic agents, and a person’s genetic profile to assist in the development of better diagnostics and prognostics, as well as improved therapies. Intelligent use of computational methods using detailed molecular and genomic data is expected to reduce the trial and error of drug development and possibly lead to shorter, more accurate clinical trials.