2018 Highlights

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The life sciences have been transformed by the availability of fast, low cost genomics analysis.

Today, you don’t need to look for rare frogs in a pond—you can search for their DNA in a water sample. You don’t need to spend weeks trying to isolate and grow bacteria from a patient, you can identify all the bacteria in a sample in a day or two.

You don’t find the best drug for a patient’s cancer through trial and error, you sequence the cancer to find out which drugs it will respond to.

However, the amount of data generated is growing exponentially. Life scientists are drowning in data. Most of them don’t have the training to capture, analyse and store terabytes of data.

And researchers need to share data for publications, collaboration and reproducibility.

Melbourne Bioinformatics was created to support researchers across the Parkville campus, to help them use and understand the data now available to them, and to train a new generation of data savvy life scientists.

In 2018 Melbourne Bioinformatics came of age. We turned off the last element of the Victorian Life Science Computation Initiative, completing our transition from a computing facility for life scientists, to a consulting and training service for data in the life sciences.

We also:

  • successfully lobbied for resources to support our model as a centre of expertise offering subscriptions for collaborations on high-value research projects which keep our experts working at the leading edge
  • increased the breadth and depth of local in-house training offerings: 280 registrants, 17 workshops
  • added value to training through EMBL-ABR webinars and hybrid training opportunities (79 University of Melbourne registrants)
  • launched Galaxy Australia and increased users from 1300 to 2600 since January 2018
  • hosted a team from Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance at MB who are working on embedding genomics into everyday healthcare
  • supervised more than 50 students in the Masters of Science (Bioinformatics)
  • attracted more than 50 attendees for a workshop in Best practices in bioinformatics software development at the ABACBS conference
  • developed two new tools: Bionitio, HiPlex2 (publication due soon)
  • launched the Portable Pipelines Project.

I took over as Academic Lead of Melbourne Bioinformatics in early 2018, when Andrew Lonie stepped up to lead the Australian Bioinformatics Commons Pathfinder Project. Thank you Andrew for your leadership over the past three years.

Here we present a snapshot of 2018.

I look forward to working with you in 2019 to help your data reveal its secrets, secrets that are the key to solving mysteries across the life sciences from cancer to agriculture.

Danny Park
Academic Lead, Melbourne Bioinformatics

…read full report here..