Computational Biology

What We Do

The Computational Biology group at the Stowers Institute is a core facility that works with investigators to analyze biological data. We combine our software development and technical skills with biological insights to help find answers in complex and massive data-sets. We primarily work with high-throughput sequence data, ChIP data, and other expression-based datasets. We also provide general statistical and numerical analysis as well as support for scientific software and databases.


To contact the Computational Biology group at the Stowers Institute directly, please email


With assistance and support from the Stowers IT group, we help to manage and maintain several servers that are used to manage and manipulate our data. The computational resources available at Stowers include the following:

  • A 8 CPU, 3.0 GHz each machine with 64 GB of RAM
  • A 24 CPU, 2.4 GHz each machine with 128 GB of RAM
  • A 32 CPU, 2.3 GHz each (4 8-core hyperthreaded) machine with 915 GB of RAM
  • A 20 (160 CPU) node cluster with 448 GHz total processing power and 160 GB of combined RAM
  • A 180 (1440 CPU) node cluster with 1500 GHz total processing power and 1080 GB of combined RAM

Software Tools

Tools We Use

The Computational Biology group uses a variety of software packages, both open-source and commercial, to assist us in our analysis process. Here is a small sampling of the tools we are currently using to process NGS data:

  • Bowtie, Cufflinks, and Tophat are used for basic alignment and analysis.
  • Trinity and Trans-ABySS are used for assembly of model organisms.
  • R is used heavily for statistical analysis and data visualization.

Team Members

Hua Li


Cynthia Chen

Programmer Analyst I

Malcolm Cook

Database Applications Manager

Xin Gao

Programmer Analyst I

Madelaine Gogol

Programmer Analyst III

Ariel Paulson

Programmer Analyst III

Selected Publications with Bioinformatics Support

High-throughput sequencing data analysis:

Huang F, Paulson A, Dutta A, Venkatesh S, Smolle M, Abmayr S, Workman JL. Histone acetyltransferase Enok regulates oocyte polarization by promoting expression of the actin nucleation factor spire. Genes & development. 2014;28(24):2750-2763.

Dutta A, Gogol M, Kim JH, Smolle M, Venkatesh S, Gilmore J, Florens L, Washburn M, Workman JL. Swi/Snf dynamics on stress-responsive genes is governed by competitive bromodomain interactions. Genes & development. 2014;28(20):2314-2330.

Venkatraman A, He XC, Thorvaldsen JL, Sugimura R, Perry JM, Tao F, Zhao M, Christenson MK, Sanchez R, Yu JY, Peng L, Haug JS, Paulson A, Li H, Zhong XB, Clemens TL, Bartolomei MS, Li L. Maternal imprinting at the H19-Igf2 locus maintains adult haematopoietic stem cell quiescence. Nature.2013;500:345-349. Abstract

Venkatesh S, Smolle M, Li H, Gogol MM, Saint M, Kumar S, Natarajan K, Workman J. Set2 methylation of histone H3 lysine 36 suppresses histone exchange on transcribed genes. Nature.2012;489:452-455. Abstract

Miller D, Takeo S, Nandanan K, Paulson A, Gogol MM, Noll A, Perera A, Walton K, Gilliland W, Li H, Staehling K, Blumenstiel J, Hawley RS. A whole-chromosome analysis of meiotic recombination in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes| Genomes| Genetics.2012;2:249-260. Abstract

He Q, Bardet AF, Patton B, Purvis J, Johnston J, Paulson A, Gogol MM, Stark A, Zeitlinger J. High conservation of transcription factor binding and evidence for combinatorial regulation across six Drosophila species. Nat Genet.2011;43:414-420. Abstract

High-throughput array-based data analysis:

Lin C, Garrett AS, De Kumar B, Smith ER, Gogol MM, Seidel C, Krumlauf R, Shilatifard A. Dynamic transcriptional events in embryonic stem cells mediated by the super elongation complex (SEC). Genes Dev. 2011;25:1486-1498. Abstract

Gardner JM, Smoyer CJ, Stensrud ES, Alexander R, Gogol MM, Wiegraebe W, Jaspersen SL. Targeting of the SUN protein Mps3 to the inner nuclear membrane by the histone variant H2A.Z. J Cell Biol. 2011;193:489-507. Abstract

Statistical Modeling and Numerical Data Analysis

Gao JT, Guimera R, Li H, Pinto IM, Sales-Pardo M, Wai SC, Rubinstein B, Li R. Modular coherence of protein dynamics in yeast cell polarity system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:7647-7652. Abstract

Zeng Y, Li H, Schweppe NM, Hawley RS, Gilliland WD. Statistical analysis of nondisjunction assays in Drosophila. Genetics. 2010;186:505-513. Abstract