Istvan Albert at Penn State


My teaching belief is best summarized by the Feynman quote: What I cannot create, I do not understand. Therefore I devise course topics that demonstrate realistic data analysis scenarios that we typically encounter at the Bioinformatics Consulting Center.

Once a year, typically in the Fall, I teach an Applied Bioinformatics course in residential instruction. The course was most recently offered in the Fall of 2014 as Applied Bioinformatics 2014 - Tuesday/Thursday 2:30-3:20 in 106 Wartik Lab and it has been redesigned and rewritten to focus on the genomic data analysis of the Ebola virus responsible for 2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak

Previous courses can be accessed on the Lectures page. I have taught scientific programming and biological data analysis courses for over six years. The courses that I developed have been well received, students have consistently rated them among the top 5% graduate courses at Penn State.


I am actively involved in designing, supervising and implementing diverse biological data analyses in collaboration with life science researchers. Through these experiences I have learned to respect the complexity and challenges that life sciences pose for computational sciences. My work typically falls into the following categories:

  • Large scale biological data analysis for next-gen sequencing methodologies.
  • Scientific programming, algorithm development with the programming languages: Python (see Python VS Perl, Java and R.
  • Computational infrastructure development, cloud computing. Data sharing and data management.


Modern life sciences research increasingly relies on information technology: data storage, custom algorithms, advanced search and query mechanisms, streamlining recurring tasks, presentation and visualization interfaces. I'm most interested in applying modern and sophisticated computational solutions to diverse biological problems.

I have published more than 30 research papers in different fields of science: Physics, Computer Science and Biology. Over the years these works have collected more than 5000 citations.

Biostars: Bioinformatics Explained

Visit Biostar At the end of 2009 I have created BioStars, a question and answer site for biologists, bioinformaticians and everyone interested in data analysis. By today, thanks to the superb user base that found a home there, the site has grown into the most popular bioinformatics site in the world. As of August 2014 the site is reaching over 1 million unique users per year! Users on the site have created over one hundred thousand (!) posts that cover all aspects of bioinformatics data analytics. Visit BioStar!

The software that this site runs on has been released to the public with a free, open source license and has been adopted by several other scientific projects.

In addition there are commercial deployments of the software by bioinformatics software companies.

Bioinformatics Consulting Center

Bioinformatics Consulting Center

Our mission is to accelerate biomedical research at Penn State.

I am the director of the Bioinformatics Consulting Center at Penn State, an organization that offers bioinformatics data analysis services for data generated by high throughput sequencing instrumentation. Our services range from routine data manipulation steps to developing novel, domain specific methodologies. Our center is also in charge of distributing and managing the sequencing data produces by the Penn State Sequencing Facilities.

Our center is less than two-year old yet our impact to Penn State grows every day. Just in the past year researchers collaborating with us have submitted over 10 research papers and our assistance has been instrumental in the successful funding for four new grant applications. Currently we have more than a dozen active collaborations and during the last year we have interacted with over 50 individuals: principal investigators, researchers, postdocs and students.

Istvan Albert

Dr. Istvan Albert

Associate Professor, Bioinformatics

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Pennsylvania State University
Office: W237 MSC
Phone: (814) 865-2281

Created by Istvan Albert • Last updated on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 • Site powered by PyBlue