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Introduction

Steve Elliman , Mark Clements and Kaylene Young

This is the bioinformatics part of a Wellcome Trust funded project titled 'Functional Genomics of Pluripotent Stem Cells and their Progeny'. Essentially this project involves the investigation of stem cells with an emphasis on their clinical uses, for instance, stem cell therapy. Stem cells can be extracted from bone marrow, reprogrammed to differentiate into different tissue types, and then injected back into a patient to repopulate damaged tissues.

A key technology employed by this project is Affymetrix microarrays, to determine gene profiles for stem cells and key regulators in their differentiation. Hence a lot of the bioinformatics we are developing involves building a system for handling and processing this project-specific data. A web interface is being developed, using the MVC pattern of Jakarta struts, so that different laboratories within the project can enter Affymetrix results together with all relevant experimental information into a centralized database. Here the data is automatically processed and integrated with relevant external data sources, before being delivered back to the experimentalists, again via the web.