Our Story

Melbourne Bioinformatics enables cutting edge research into some of society’s biggest challenges.

In a myriad of exciting interdisciplinary collaborations, our bioinformaticians and high end computing specialists are working with some of Australia’s leading researchers to improve our quality of life. Advancing disease diagnostics, finding new drug targets, refining treatments and furthering our understanding of the major diseases affecting our community including cancer, epilepsy, genetic disorders, diabetes, infectious diseases and eye disease.

What do we do?

We empower the life science research community through access to state-of-the-art resources, centralised computational expertise, know-how and training services.

Melbourne Bioinformatics:

  • provides a world-class computational service that supports the transformation of life sciences research through high end computing
  • provides a leading computing facility with the capability to address much larger life sciences research problems than previously addressed in Australia
  • facilitates greater research collaboration locally, nationally and internationally
  • develops skills in computational biology, bioinformatics, advanced simulation and modelling, data management and more generally the application of advanced computing in life sciences
  • supports industry development through the uptake of computational research in life sciences
  • collaborates with Australia’s major infrastructure and networking activities such as Nectar to support and increase access for researchers across Australia.


Melbourne Bioinformatics is the next evolution of the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, which was funded by the Victorian Government and contributing institutions and hosted by the University of Melbourne. This initiative built up a team of experts and infrastructure to better equip Victoria’s exciting biomedical, agricultural and biotechnology industries for the fast-growing era of life sciences computing. As new knowledge is generated, the broader Victorian community will benefit through improved medical, environmental, agricultural and health outcomes.

The Victorian Government has demonstrated long-term commitment in providing a world-class infrastructure to build Victoria as a world biotechnology hub. Joining the Australian Synchrotron, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the AgriBio Centre, Bio21, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, the VLSCI provided key infrastructure to drive innovation. The rapid development of scientific instrumentation and techniques that expands the frontiers of research has always presented major computing challenges. Foresight demanded the provision of state of the art computational infrastructure supported by groundbreaking experts to enable technological advancements to flow through to research outcomes.

In 2008, the Victorian Premier announced the $100 million VLSCI, including $50 million in State funding for peak computing infrastructure. By 2010 the Victorian Government in partnership with The University of Melbourne and the IBM Life Sciences Research Collaboratory, Melbourne, had established VLSCI to provide advanced compute ability, capacity building, and skills development in computational biology, bioinformatics, and computational imaging for all Victorian life sciences researchers and their collaborators.

Over the life of the initial grant, most key Victorian health and medical research institutions, major Universities and public research organisations became major stakeholders in VLSCI, as did many interstate and international researchers.

The IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences-Melbourne was established as part of the five-year joint research partnership between the University of Melbourne and IBM. Housed at VLSCI, IBM researchers worked side by side with researchers from the University of Melbourne, surrounding medical research institutes in the Parkville Precinct, and other universities in the Melbourne area. This work continues from 2015 through the broader partnership between The University of Melbourne and  IBM Research Australia.

The Victorian State Government continued its support throughout 2015/16 as the plan for Melbourne Bioinformatics developed. Host Institution, the University of Melbourne has continued to administer and govern this activity to ensure its success.

This concentrated project helped to build a state-wide capacity for leading research.

Prof James McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Melbourne (Annual Report 2016)