New building set to drive translational medicine
On Monday, 28 October, UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts joined key advocates of bioinformatics such as researchers, journalists, editors, and politicians to celebrate the opening of a new Technical Hub for bioinformatics on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus.
Bioinformatics is the application of computer science to biology. This new building - and the funding that makes it possible - represents a growing awareness of the potential benefits to society that bioinformatics can bring, including better medicines, crops resistant to climatic change and the protection of biodiversity. Major support for the new build comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Wellcome Trust.
"This splendid new building heralds the next phase in bioinformatics at EMBL-EBI, when biodata joins the ranks of Big Data and ELIXIR pioneers a new approach to saving and sharing research data throughout Europe. These data are a goldmine for research, and are driving novel R&D in both academia and the bioindustries."
Professor Dame Janet Thornton, Director of EMBL-EBI
"This new facility is the embodiment of our investment in big data and bioinformatics. We are not only ensuring that people will receive better services and resource security, we are also maintaining UK leadership in the global science race."
David Willetts, Science and Universities Minister
As bioinformatics involves analysing very large volumes of data about living things, it is essential for tackling the serious challenges our society faces, from providing healthcare to an ageing population to securing our food and water resources. The new facilities will enable researchers throughout Europe to remain competitive in this expanding area, and will secure the UK's position at the forefront of bioinformatics.
The new building will house EMBL-EBI staff; an Industry and Translation suite, offering space for collaboration with industry partners in the spheres of pharma, agribusiness, biotech and consumer goods; and the Directorate and technical staff of the ELIXIR Technical Hub. ELIXIR is a pan European infrastructure for the sharing of biological data, funded through sustainable contributions from national member states and the European Commission.
"At the Sanger Institute, bioinformatics underpins all our research and its translation into human healthcare, and its importance will only grow further as we explore more genomes. This is indeed an important and exciting moment for European bioinformatics generally and will add greatly to the strengths of research carried out here at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus."
Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute