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22 million Euro for bioinformatics centres

Published on 2. März 2015, 11:34 h
Starting in March, Bielefeld University will be coordinating the new German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure

In March, Bielefeld University’s Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) will be heading a new bioinformatics programme. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing a total of 22 million Euro of funding until 2020 for the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (de.NBI). The network is bringing together eight German centres that specialize in processing bioinformatics data from the life sciences. As a joint institution, they will offer bioinformatics services for research projects in biotechnology and biomedicine. In addition, the network will train researchers in how to use bioinformatics software.


Sie unterstützen das neue Netzwerk „de.NBI“ von Bielefeld aus (von links): Prof. Dr. Andreas Tauch, Dr. Stefan Albaum, Dr. Tanja Dammann-Kalinowski, Dr. Alexander Sczyrba und Prof. Dr. Alfred Pühler. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
They will be supporting the new ‘de.NBI’ network from Bielefeld (starting on the left): Prof. Dr. Andreas Tauch, Dr. Stefan Albaum, Dr. Tanja Dammann-Kalinowski, Dr. Alexander Sczyrba, and Prof. Dr. Alfred Pühler. Photo: Bielefeld University
In today’s world, the life sciences biology and medicine operate with technologies that generate vast amounts of data. One example for the production of such ‘big data’ is the systematic analysis of cell functions in genome research. The only way to analyse these vast datasets is by networking suitable supercomputers and software packages. The network should enable scientists throughout Germany to profit from the new technologies. Researchers will be able to cooperate with one of the network centres in order to analyse their data there.

The Administration Office for the new network will be located in Bielefeld University’s CeBiTec. The coordinator of the programme is Professor Dr. Alfred Pühler from CeBiTec. ‘Our goal is to make biotechnology and biomedicine in Germany fit for the future. Bioinformatics is a fundamental basis for this,’ says Pühler. ‘The aim of biomedicine is to gain a better understanding of illnesses and to design more effective treatments. We hope that biotechnology will contribute to healthier nutrition and deliver far-reaching innovations for biotechnological production processes,’ explains Pühler. Together with the Administration Office, Pühler will be coordinating and specifying the particular tasks of the eight centres involved. The Administration Office is managed by Professor Dr. Andreas Tauch from CeBiTec. He is also the vice-coordinator of the network.

One of the eight centres in the network is also located in CeBiTec. It contains research groups from both Bielefeld and Giessen Universities. Professor Dr. Jens Stoye from Bielefeld University’s Faculty of Technology is the head of this centre. It is taking on responsibility for the bioinformatic processing of genomic data, particularly that of micro-organisms. This can be used to analyse not only the genomic data of individual organisms but also metagenomic data. Metagenomes are the mixed genomes present in microbial communities. ‘When performing bioinformatic processing, we can take advantage of the CeBiTec’s bioinformatic technology platform that has now been working on this task for ten years,’ says Jens Stoye.

The other centres are spread throughout Germany. They are to be found at the universities in Bochum, Bremen, Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Tübingen as well as at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben. Scientists at all eight centres will be getting together in the future for joint coordination meetings, symposia, workshops, and summer schools. These events will be organized by the network head office in CeBiTec. The head office will also help the performance centres organize training courses and deal with user queries. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will carry out an interim evaluation of the network in 2018.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Alfred Pühler, Bielefeld University
Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec)
Telephone: 0521 106-8750
Email: puehler@cebitec.uni-bielefeld.de

Prof. Dr. Andreas Tauch, Bielefeld University
Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec)
Telephone: 0521 106-8703
Email: tauch@cebitec.uni-bielefeld.de

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