Bioinformatics may be broadly defined as the interface between Life Sciences and Computational Sciences. It is a new science that has been stimulated by recent work on gene sequences such as the Human Genome Project and our own Singapore Genomics Program. Bioinformatics applies the latest database techniques and smart mathematical algorithms to gene and protein sequence information in the search for new medical drug leads.
It combines the storage and retrieval of complex biological data, with analysis and annotation of biological information. IT tools automate many of the processes, some of which take large amounts of computing power. The newest area is knowledge-based modelling of specific cellular and molecular processes. Bioinformatics is thus the study of the information content and information flow in biological systems and processes.
BIC at the National University of Singapore was officially formed in 1996 with seed funding from the Economic Development Board (EDB). It has since managed to secure more funding from the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB), Glaxo Wellcome and NUS. In total, more than $15M over the past four years has been raised. Today, BIC has vibrant research groups at Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL), the Centre for Natural Product Research (CNPR) and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). New groups are emerging in other research centres and life sciences departments.
BIC works closely with researchers from the life sciences and information technologies not just in Singapore. It has also established close links with many groups regionally and internationally. BIC is among the first in the region to undertake research in bioinformatics and is now playing a leading role in the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet).
As a centre of excellence, BIC aims to share Singapore's objective for high quality research and services to help Singapore become a world-class life sciences hub.
The three main goals of BIC are:
to pursue leading-edge research in the field of bioinformatics and life sciences
to promote and develop state of the art services in bioinformatics
to offer informatics solutions to complex biological problems for Singapore and international scientific users with possible commercialisation.