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Computational Biology and Applied Algorithmics (Prof. Lengauer)



HIV protease in two conformations - blue and orange, with bound drug molecule.

About us

Computational Biology Research in the Department encompasses a wide range of basic and applied research problems. Basic research problems include the prediction of aspects of protein function from protein sequence and structure as well as the analysis of transcriptomics, epigenetics and protein interaction data. Applied questions relate to human disease, such as the elucidation of host-pathogen interactions in viral diseases, the analysis of viral resistance to drug therapy, and the analysis of molecular fingerprints of cancer. Software offered by the department includes internet servers supporting the administration of antiviral therapies to AIDS and Hepatitis patients as well as the genome-wide analysis of data on cell regulation, protein function and protein interactions. Furthermore the Department develops the software for the GISAID platform for influenza research.



Head of the group

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lengauer


Thomas Lengauer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and speaker of the Center for Bioinformatics Saar. He has been engaged in research in computational biology since the beginning of the 90s. His current major focuses of research include protein bioinformatics and bioinformatics for understanding and curing diseases. In 2003 he received the Konrad Zuse Medal of the German Informatics Society and the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award, and in 2010 the AIDS Research Award of the Heinz-Ansmann Foundation. He is a member and a Senator of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina as well as a member of acatech – German Academy of Science and Engineering and of Academia Europaea.


"We want to provide computational procedures for harvesting molecular data to enrich our knowledge on disease as well as to participate in projects reaping new biology from the application of such procedures."



Our projects

Computational Epigenetics


The attachment of methyl groups (glowing) to DNA is an important epigenetic modification.

Modifications of the genome control the DNA’s three- dimensional packaging in the cell nucleus and play an important role for gene regulation. High-throughput technology affords genome-wide measurements of those epigenetic states. This provides a new rich source of molecular data, since epigenomes are much more variable than genomes. They differ between tissues, between healthy and diseased cells and they change with age. We develop computational procedures for harvesting such data, both for basic research and as an approach to diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of diseases.


HIV Bioinformatics


HI viruses budding from the surface of an infected human immune cell.

Over the course of ten years and within a cooperation comprising virologists, clinicians and computational biologists – first throughout Germany, now throughout Europe – we have developed bioinformatics software predicting resistance of HIV to drug therapy and ranking combination drug therapies by their likelihood of being effective against the virus based on the viral genotype drawn from a patient. The result, the geno2pheno Server, freely accessible at, offers a range of interpretation procedures for the viral genotype and is used in clinical practice throughout Europe.