Working with biological researchers at UC Davis (most notably Holly Bik), we created an open-source framework for visualizing biological data.
Whether it's genes, proteins, or microbial species, Phinch provides an interactive visualization tool that allows users to explore and manipulate large biological datasets. Computer algorithms face significant difficulty in identifying simple data patterns; writing algorithms to tease out complex, subtle relationships (the type that exist in biological systems) is almost impossible. However, the human eye is adept at spotting visual patterns, able to quickly notice trends and outliers. It is this philosophy especially when presented with intuitive, well-designed software tools and user interfaces. The sheer volume of data produced from high-throughput sequencing technologies will require fundamentally different approaches and new paradigms for effective data analysis.
Scientific visualization represents an innovative method towards tackling the current bottleneck in bioinformatics; in addition to giving researchers a unique approach for exploring large datasets, it stands to empower biologists with the ability to conduct powerful analyses without requiring a deep level of computational knowledge.