Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Data Science Jumpstart for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases and Conditions

Translational Genomics Research Branch, DER, NIDCR


  • To encourage data integration and data mining, with follow-up research as appropriate, to advance scientific questions core to NIDCR’s mission.
  • To attract more bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science projects and investigators to NIDCR.


Applying mathematical and computational approaches to complex and multi-dimensional data can lead to a deeper understanding of the research data, and allow one to address new questions. NIDCR is interested in engaging more bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science researchers to leverage existing resources and answer important questions core to NIDCR’s mission. Bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science approaches are important and cross-cutting scientific areas including genetics and genomics; research integrating electronic records or mobile health data into epidemiologic and health services research relevant to NIDCR’s mission; or 3-dimensional modeling of craniofacial structures for surgical planning.  Although there are several active FOAs that can support bioinformatics and data science research, they do not emphasize computational biology and some potentially significant projects in these areas are beyond the scope of the currently-available FOAs. In addition, in this burgeoning era of big data, there is a need to support larger, more complex and cohesive projects, especially when validation experiments are an important part of the research strategy.

This initiative will encourage bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science research that will facilitate data mining, integration or modeling. Validation, mechanistic, or translational components are also encouraged as part of the research strategy, as appropriate.

Current Portfolio Overview

NIDCR supports a number of projects focusing on mining existing databases or developing algorithms for data analysis. However, results may yield new associations, without follow-on validation, mechanistic, translational or modeling components.

Individuals and Groups Whose Input was Solicited for this Initiative

NIDCR staff were consulted during the initial phase of this concept development. Public comments specific for this concept were solicited on NIDCR website from August 4-September 5, 2017.

Alignment with Institute Goals and Strategic Plan

This initiative is aligned with the NIDCR Strategic Plan 2014-2019, Goals 1 and 2, “Support the best science to improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health” and “Enable precise and personalized oral health care through research,” respectively. Specifically, the initiative aligns with objectives 1-2, 1-3, and 2-1 that “Promote development and use of comprehensive, interoperable databases and informatics resources to advance prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental, oral, and craniofacial diseases”, “Conduct translational and clinical investigations to improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health,” and “Support research toward precise classification, prevention, and treatment of dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease.”

Last Reviewed on
February 2018