McGill launches Centre for Bioinformatics

Science, medicine and computer science converge

May 29, 2000 - With 90% of the human genome already known and many smaller genomes sequenced in their entirety, a revolution known as bioinformatics is beginning to affect profoundly the whole of biology and medicine. To meet this challenge of the "post-genomic age" which experts say will transform our society to an extent unparalleled in historyMcGill has established a Centre for Bioinformatics. A search has begun immediately to recruit Centre staff. Within the next 18 months, the core of the Centre, to be led by an internationally-renowned scientist, will have 20 full-time researchers working together, including current academic staff involved in genomics, structural biology, genetic epidemiology, physiology, computer science, bio-instrumentation, proteomics and other related fields.

Dr. Luc Vinet, vice-principal (academic), who has backed the project since its inception points out that bioinformatics is an inherently interdisciplinary field. At McGill, medicine, science, engineering and agricultural and environmental sciences all have a direct interest in its development. "Coordinating these activities in the most synergetic and profitable way is the way of the future," he says. Vinet also notes that the Centre will have an international advisory board to provide input from a broad range of expertise at the highest levels.

The physical space and location of the McGill Bioinformatics Centre "is absolutely key to the scope and success of our plans," stresses Vinet. He continues, "This is not a virtual Centre. We want the bioinformaticians to be working in the immediate vicinity of genomics and proteomics experts, since they constitute the main driving force behind bioinformatics. On top of providing the ideal milieu for scientific interaction, this proximity will be crucial in setting up conditions for cultural integration and will give McGill a very clear advantage

Contact: Dr. Luc Vinet
McGill University

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