Montana INBRE Infrastructure Resources


Bioinformatics Teaching and Research Facility

Systems Biology Computational Cluster

Bioinformatics Users Group



Cooley Hall, Room B2
Phone: (406) 994-6451

The field of applied bioinformatics is developing at a pace not normally experienced in most biology labs, and the goal of the MT INBRE Bioinformatics Core is to help students and researchers keep up through the promotion of bioinformatics and computational literacy throughout the science curriculum and in the laboratory.  This goal is being addressed through three main endeavors:  providing and maintaining a bioinformatics facility for classroom, workshop and individual use; supporting a computational cluster dedicated to systems biology research; and hosting an interdisciplinary users group for exchange of knowledge.  The Bioinformatics Core is directed by Mike Franklin and Jean Starkey, with support from Gary Orser and Kate McInnerney.

The Bioinformatics Research and Training Facility is a state-of-the-art instructional facility housed in the Department of Microbiology.  Equipped with a projection system, printers and wireless internet, this  facility accommodates twenty Dell GX280 terminals running Ubuntu Fiesty and WindowsXP, served by a Sun Fire V880 Server 8.  A variety of bioinformatics software has been loaded and is maintained on this system, and investigators and students are welcome to request installation of additional software.  The facility is available for classroom and workshop instruction as well as individual and group research.   Scheduling, accounts, software installation, remote access and technical support can be arranged by contacting Gary Orser, systems administrator, at 406.994.6451. 


The Systems Biology Computational Cluster is a joint pilot project of IGERT and the MT INBRE Bioinformatics Core to spur bioinformatics research in the following areas:  evolutionary phylogenetics, metagenomics, genome assembly, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology and related pursuits.  To that end, a condor cluster of 21 Dell Optiplex terminals running both Linux and Windows OS has been purchased for distribution to labs and core facilities in seven biological science departments of three colleges:  LRES, PS, VMB (College of Agriculture), Chem/Biochem, CBN, MB (College of Letters & Science) and CBE (College of Engineering).  The condor cluster is further supported by a server comprised of four PowerEdge 1950 MLK dual quad-core E5450s (3Gz, 8G) and 11 terabytes storage in 15 750G drives.  For more information about the SBCC pilot, contact Gary Orser or Bill Inskeep (IGERT, 


The Bioinformatics Users Group hosts both a GoogleGroup and a monthly Forum.  The BUG group is a site for exchange of knowledge, problems and ideas, with a goal of fostering collaborations between biologists, bioinformaticists, computer scientists and other specialties.  The site contains resource pages, journal articles, application "quick start" guides and presentations related to a variety of bioinformatics tools.  Members are encouraged to add to the body of resources as well as suggest new areas of interest or need.  The monthly forum is usually held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month in AgBio 108.  Past forum presentations have included bioinformatics research relevant to microarray, eQTL, metagenomics, qPCR, noncoding RNA, and other topics.  To be added to either the BUG group or BUG forum listserve, contact Kate McInnerney ( or Mike Franklin (