Theoretical Biology & Bioinformatics

tree of life

About us

The group consists of a Theoretical Biology unit (headed by Rob de Boer) and a Bioinformatics unit (headed by Berend Snel), and is composed of several PI groups (labs) that each have their own biological focus of interest (see our page on Research). We house our own high performance cluster of multi-core Linux workstations to perform large scale simulations and bioinformatic analyses.

We are experts in computational biology, ranging from bioinformatics, mathematical modeling to computer simulation, and we all share an interest in evolution. Covering many different areas in biology we can teach modelling and bioinformatics to students with very different biological interests.

Our main mission in education is to make modelling and bioinformatics a standard component of biological research. Only by doing so can we make biology a more quantitative science, and integrate large databases of knowledge into an understanding of how complex biological systems function and evolve. We teach courses on systems biology, theoretical ecology, bioinformatics, immunology, and computational biology, and run master and PhD programs in computational biology (see our page on Education).

The group has a long history in studying complex biological systems using computational methods. It was founded in the seventies, and at that time Paulien Hogeweg and Ben Hesper coined the term bioinformatics for the study of informatic processes in biotic systems. According to the Oxford English Dictionary this was the first use of the term bioinformatics.