Faramarz Valafar leads the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics research group. The group is currently undertaking projects in medical decision-making, automated chemical structural identification for drug discovery and disease development, and in gene sequencing for drug development and biological function analysis. The following two projects are samples:
- Development of an automated system to predict the effect (positive or negative) of hydroxyurea treatments on sickle cell anemia patients. Hydroxyurea can have severe side effects and is not always effective. This system uses the results of standard blood tests and some genetic information to make its prediction.
- Automating the structural identification of complex carbohydrates from their chemical signatures. Highly qualified scientists are required to spend much time and effort to analyze chemical signatures such as NMR and spectral data in order to identify these large and flexible molecules. Dr. Valafar's group is working on a system that accepts these spectra over the web and is able to identify the unknown carbohydrate's structure within minutes. Since these molecules are involved in most diseases such as cancer and AIDS, it is important to reduce the time and effort needed to analyze them.