Immunomics and Immunoinformatics
Immunomics is also a discipline like genomics and proteomics. It is a science, which specifically combines Immunology with computer science, mathematics, chemistry, and biochemistry for large-scale analysis of immune system functions. It aims to study the complex protein–protein interactions and networks and allows a better understanding of immune responses and their role during normal, diseased and reconstitution states.
The immune system being the complex network of human body, understanding it is one of the most accepting challenging. Research in immunology is carried on understanding the mechanisms underlying the human defense centre and to develop immunological drugs. Recent technological innovations in genomics and proteomics transformed the research work in immunology. Sequencing of human and other model organism genomes produced increasingly higher volumes of immunological, clinical and functional data. Recent advances in computational biology made easy to understand and organize these large scale data which lead to Computational immunology or Immunoinformatics.
Immunoinformatics is a branch of bioinformatics deals with phylogenetic analysis and modeling of immunological data and problems. It encompasses the study and design of algorithms for mapping potential B- and T-cell epitopes, which lessens the time and cost required for laboratory analysis of pathogen gene products. Using this information, an immunologist can explore the potential binding sites, which, in turn, leads to the development of new vaccines. This methodology is termed reverse vaccinology and it analyses the pathogen genome to identify potential antigenic proteins. This is advantageous to conventional methods from cultivating and extracting the antigenic proteins from a pathogen. Hence it is capable of identifying virulence genes and surface-associated proteins.