Bioinformatics in Belgium is becoming increasingly established. As a result, more initiatives to build infrastructure and to stimulate collaboration are being initiated and will be integrated to strengthen the Belgian ELIXIR Node. Research fields of particular interest to the Belgian ELIXIR Node are plant research and the biomedical sciences.
Regarding plant research and sustainable agriculture, Belgium has an impressive number of R&D driven biotech companies that collaborate with academic institutes and research centres. This has led to numerous important plant genomics resources, unique data mining and biostatistical tools and databases for plant molecular biology with applications in sustainable agriculture.
Regarding health, the clinical genomics community in Belgium has developed specific infrastructure to generate and handle next-generation sequencing data for diagnostic and research purposes. The ensuing databases of genomic sequence data and clinical diagnostic data are of great value for biomedical research.
The Belgian ELIXIR Node is led by VIB, a life sciences research institute performing basic research with a strong focus on translating scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. Other partners are the Belgian Universities of Ghent (UGent), Leuven (KU Leuven), Antwerp (UAntwerpen), Hasselt (UHasselt), Brussels (VUB and ULB) and Liège (ULg).
ELIXIR Belgium focuses on:
- Maintenance, upgrade and implementation of new developments of the Belgian ELIXIR Node services developed by the Belgian research community (PLAZA - the large scale plant comparative genomics dataset, ORCAE - the curation and annotation tool for eukaryotic genomes and NGS-logistics - the platform for human variant discovery).
- Increasing the portfolio of services offered by the Belgian ELIXIR Node by investing in additional resources and tools developed by the Belgian research community (Unipept - a metaproteomics and metagenomics data analysis platform, Tabloid Proteome - a database of protein association network, VariantDB - a flexible annotation and filtering portal for NGS data, MS DataConnect - a multidisciplinary MS data repository and DynaMine - a fast predictor of protein backbone dynamics).
- Developing and offering trainings on basic computing skills, node services and ELIXIR standards & recommendations (e.g. Galaxy, FAIR, data management).
- Developing the Belgian Node to match the emerging needs of bioinformatics services in Belgium e.g. in building a cloud environment for data storage and analysis.
Head of Node