About Us

WHAT WE DO

Melbourne Bioinformatics supports researchers who are recognising that life science is fast becoming a data science. Melbourne Bioinformatics provides advice on research design and grant applications, access to high-end computing, research collaborations and data analysis, and hands-on training.

EXPERT ADVICE

  • high end computing – in-house or in the Cloud
  • experimental design
  • grant writing
  • data analysis, management and curation
  • project management and collaboration
  • open science – where and how to publish your data for maximum exposure

TRAINING

Hands-on workshops, interactive webinars, online tutorials:

  • Unix for beginners
  • high performance computing for life scientists
  • using the Genomics Virtual Laboratory
  • variant calling
  • RNA-Seq data analysis
  • open source science with Git and GitHub
  • bioinformatics best practices

COLLABORATIONS

  • partner with our platform development and research infrastructure experts
  • connect with the international partners of the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource that we host
  • access Australia’s bioinformatics resources via the EMBL-ABR: Melbourne Bioinformatics Node
  • communicate with 700+ subscribers to our mailing list

WHO WE ARE

Melbourne Bioinformatics has evolved in 2017 from a seven-year project, the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) which was funded by the Victorian Government (2009-2016) and member institutions and hosted by the University of Melbourne. This high-end facility has built a team of experts and complex system capacity to enhance life science computing, particularly in Melbourne’s biomedical precinct. The EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR, www.embl-abr.org.au) is also hosted at Melbourne Bioinformatics through a funding agreement between the University of Melbourne and Bioplatforms Australia. Co-locating here gives EMBL-ABR access to a team of over 30 expert bioinformaticians working to build Australia’s capacity in bioinformatics, with nodes of activity across all the major Australian states, focussed particularly on meeting the increasing demand for training and skills development in bioinformatics.

MEMBERS

Melbourne Bioinformatics staff and compute resources are hosted by the University of Melbourne. Melbourne Bioinformatics’ services are available to all University of Melbourne researchers and students, including researchers and students from research institutes affiliated with the University of Melbourne. These include: Bio21 Institute; Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health; Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity; Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; Royal Children’s Hospital; Royal Melbourne Hospital; Royal Women’s Hospital; St Vincent’s Hospital; St Vincent’s Institute; and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Please consult the complete list of the University of Melbourne’s affiliates here.

JOINT GRANT RECIPIENTS

From 2018, Deakin, RMIT, La Trobe University, and Melbourne Universities, as partners on a successful LIEF grant to procure a new high-performance GPU cluster, will have access to this system being hosted by the University of Melbourne’s Research Platform Services.

Melbourne Bioinformatics is affiliated with the following bodies operating across life sciences industry:

 

AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE COLLABORATORS

Through contracts with host institution, the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Bioinformatics (as VLSCI) and EMBL-ABR have been engaged to deliver a series of research infrastructure projects for the Australian research community funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) in collaborations with:

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In a project led by the University of Queensland, Melbourne Bioinformatics (as VLSCI) contributed expertise and developed training materials for the Genomics Virtual Labaoratory, a NeCTAR-funded project (NeCTAR is an NCRIS project).

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Over 2015/16 15% of our IBM BlueGene/Q system was made available to Australian researchers through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme.

EMBL-ABR NODE PARTNERS

Through a 2015 agreement between the University of Melbourne and Bioplatforms Australia, Melbourne Bioinformatics (as VLSCI) undertook to build the next stage of the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource into a truly national network of service providers via nodes across Australia. The nodes are providing local training and researcher support, plus bioinformatics tools and platform access, modelled on the successful services delivered at VLSCI over 2010-2016.

bioplatforms-australia

 

BIOINFORMATICS NETWORKS

We sponsor student and early career researcher events and training in bioinformatics through COMBINE and career and skills development of practising bioinformaticians through their professional body, ABACBS.


WHAT IS BIOINFORMATICS?

‘Bioinformatics is the application of information technologies and sciences to the organisation, management, mining and use of life-science information.’ (Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources 2002)

The term ‘life-science information’ includes genetic, molecular, cellular, specimen, epidemiological and biodiversity information. Activities encompassed by bioinformatics include: ‘all aspects of gathering, storing, handling, analysing, interpreting and spreading vast amounts of biological information in databases.’ (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries and Regional Services 2001)

…Bioinformatics is also referred to in life-science literature as biological informatics, biomedical computing, computational biology or bio-IT….the definition adopted … is broad, including both microbioinformatics (e.g. involving the use of genomic or proteomic data) and macrobioinformatics (e.g. species/biodiversity informatics, health/medical informatics).

[The definition should] be broad enough to cater for future trends and applications of bioinformatics. Currently, as some stakeholders have observed, bioinformatics definitions reflect the primacy of genomics and proteomics and often exclude biodiversity and health informatics.

Many international comparisons do not consider macrobioinformatics. However, bioinformatics has shown some capacity to go beyond the sum of biology and IT and include physical sciences (mathematics, physics and chemistry) and medicine, with powerful implications for not only biodiversity, but also drug design and personalised medicine.

(National Bioinformatics Strategy 2005, Australia, p.10)