The Laboratory of Computational Biology

Biochemistry and Biophysics Center
Division of Intramural Research
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health

Bernard R. Brooks, Ph.D., Chief

About the Lab

The Laboratory of Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary group of scientists who study biological processes via computer simulation.

Contact/Visitor Information


The Laboratory is organized into three sections and one facility, each led by a principal investigator. A brief overview of their work is given here, and you can find out more in the web pages for each section.

Computational Biophysics Section
Bernard R. Brooks
(CBS web site)

The Computational Biophysics Section consists of researchers who both develop simulation and modeling techniques and apply them towards the study of problems of biological significance. Techniques employed include; molecular dynamics, quantum and molecular mechanics, ab initio analysis of small molecule structures, molecular modeling, and electron microscopy image analysis.

picture of a protein

Membrane Biophysics Section
Richard W. Pastor
(MBS web site)

The Membrane Biophysics Section (MBS) is a group of researchers who use diverse theoretical methods combined with high performance computing to investigate the properties of lipid membranes and related molecular assemblies. The section operates under the direction of Dr. Richard Pastor; the group joined the NIH/NHLBI Laboratory of Computational Biology (LCB) in 2006, after 20 years in FDA/CBER's Laboratory of Biophysics.

picture of a DPPC bilayer

Theoretical Cellular Physics Section
Jian Liu
(TCPS web site)

The Theoretical Cellular Physics Section (TCPS) is a group of researchers who use statistical physics to model various cellular processes, such as cell motility, membrane trafficking and organelle dynamics. It operates under the direction of Dr. Jian Liu, and it is in extensive collaborations with experimentalists.

diagram showing cell pore formation

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Facility
Eric Billings
(BISB web site)

The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Facility (BISB) develops methods and software to address the integration of experimental data with computational representations of biological systems. Novel methods are developed to analyze the physiological significance of experimental results from high-throughput technologies such as proteomics, array-based DNA and RNA profiling, next-generation sequencing and metabolomics. Successful methods are then developed into more robust software platforms and provided to investigators or used in collaborations for various studies.

diagram showing how biological and computational disciplines interface to create greater scientific understanding

Hardware and Software Projects

The LCB undertakes many hardware and software projects in order to advance the state of computational biophysics research. Some of the most notable are:
  • The LoBoS project is a beowulf cluster that delivers supercomputer level performance to lab staff and collaborators at a fraction of the cost of a traditional supercomputer.
  • Lab staff actively participate in the CHARMM development project.
  • CHARMMing is an interactive Web server that provides a graphical interface for setting up and executing simulations with CHARMM.
  • The lab hosts an on-line CHARMM tutorial under development by researchers.
  • The AD-ENM Web server provides an easy interface for running normal mode calculations via the Elastic Network Model.