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New advanced bioinformatics research centre in Montral


Montreal, QC – January 20, 2004 – A new specialized centre in bioinformatics and genomics at the Universit de Montreal has been opened.

was inaugurated today by Michel Audet, Quebec’s Minister of Economic and Regional Development, and Robert Lacroix, Rector of the Universit de Montral.

The Robert Cedergren Centre for research in biological complexity brings together a pioneering group of leading bioinformatics and genomics researchers from various disciplines to confront the challenges posed by the colossal quantity of data generated by the complete decoding of an increasing number of genomes, including the human one.

“We have entered an era of unprecedented progress in the biological and biomedical sciences. The recent reports on the human and other genome sequences have engendered widespread public interest and have highlighted the vast new opportunities for identifying and characterizing genes,” says B Franz Lang, director of the new centre and holder of a prestigious Canada Research Chair. “The two central questions are (i) how to design such genomics experiments in the most rational way, and (ii) how to analyze the ever increasing flood of data from large-scale, genome-wide experiments and interpret them in terms of biological function. The answer lies in the emerging discipline of bioinformatics.”

Since the 1980s, researchers at the Universit de Montral have been working on bioinformatics. Biochemist Robert J Cedergren began to work with David Sankoff, a computer scentist, on developing the techniques and software necessary to modelling the structure of RNA, and to what would later become know as the science of bioinformatics.

Twelve experts make up the centre’s core staff, including: Gertraud Burger, director of the undergraduate and graduate program in bioniformatics, as well as director of the BioneQ network; Stephen Michnick, Canada Research Chair in integrative genomics; Franz Lang, Canada Research Chair in Comparative and evolutionary genomics; and Herv Philippe, Canada Research Chair in evolutionary bioinformatics and genomics. Fifty other researchers from Canada and France are also members of the centre.