Biochemistry Lab Education

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The primary goal of COMBREX is to increase the pace of experimental determination of the function of large and high priority gene families in bacterial genomes. These genes can help elucidate the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, provide new drug targets or improve our understanding of the human microbiome. Specifically, COMBREX aims to catalyze the formation of a consortium of experimental and computational biologists that would collaborate directly to test experimentally the predicted functions of high-priority genes of currently unknown function or specificity. Central to this effort is the creation of a community web-based database (portal) which would allow computational and experimental scientists to communicate easily, assist experimentalists in identifying those high-priority genes for which there are the highest-quality computational predictions for their molecular function, and providing feedback to the computational biologists, since it remains true that the insights and experience of the dedicated biochemist can be essential in guiding the development of algorithmic sophistication. In addition to direct benefits to microbial biology, infectious disease research and computational biology this public experiment in the form of a new social network might have long-term transformative implications for funding and other economic implications.