Computational modelling for biotechnology: predictions for optimal production
- A new European joint effort aims at developing new computational tools to integrate and analyse the large amounts of data arising in biology and biotechnology, with the final goal to improve biotechnological processes and applications.
- The BioPreDyn project—coordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona—will include 8 academic labs and 3 industrial partners from countries all across Europe. It is a three-year project with a budget of €2.9 million from the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission.
- The kick-off meeting for BioPreDyn will be held on the 12th and 13th of December at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona.
Barcelona, 11 December 2011. Biological systems involve an incredibly large diversity of molecules, reactions and interactions. 21st-Century technology allows us—for the first time—to measure and obtain biological data on a large scale at many different scales and levels: from molecules to whole organisms, and from tiny bacteria to us humans.
However, these massive data sets are often incomplete and of very diverse nature. Our brain is not able to deal with such complexity on its own, and the challenge ahead is to integrate and make sense of the data in order to understand and predict biological processes and their applications. Computational modelling is absolutely essential for this daunting task.
European scientists from academic labs and biotech industry will join forces in the BioPreDyn Project (New Bioinformatics Methods and Tools for Data-Driven, Predictive Dynamic Modelling in Biotechnological Applications) to develop novel computational tools, methods, and algorithms, and integrate them into a user-friendly software platform for research institutions and the biotech sector. Biological systems studied in the lab and specific biotechnological applications will be used as benchmark problems to develop these new approaches.
On the long term, these new modelling tools will allow the design and optimization of biotechnological production processes in a reliable, predictive and quantitative way. One of the industrial partners, The CoSMo Company, will create an integrated software platform to support the modelling process in its entirety, and will enable widespread application of this approach, both in the context of the academic research community and the private sector. The other two participating companies will immediately benefit from the platform and the synergies with the academic modellers: Fluxome will improve their production processes for dietary supplements, and Insilico Biotechnology will optimize its pipeline for microbial biotechnological processes in the food and healthcare industry.
The BioPreDyn consortium aims to develop innovative solutions by embracing collective expertise and synergies between interdisciplinary areas such as database development, scientific visualization methods, statistics, machine learning, mathematical modeling and biotechnological engineering.
Julio R. Banga, CSIC researcher, in Vigo and one of the scientific coordinators of the project, emphasizes that "BioPreDyn presents a holistic approach to model building in bioinformatics and systems biology, targeting both fundamental theory and real-world applications". His colleague and co-coordinator Johannes Jaeger, from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, in Barcelona, points out that the project is indispensable as it "aims at creating an integrated suite of robust and solid methods to empower data-driven modelling for the systems biology and biotechnology of the future, shortening the lag time ‘from ideas to the market’".
Johannes Jaeger, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Spain, www.crg.eu
Julio R. Banga, Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain, www.csic.es
Julio Saez-Rodriguez, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Germany, www.embl.org
Jaap A. Kaandorp, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands, www.uva.nl
Joke Blom, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), The Netherlands, www.cwi.nl
Diego di Bernardo, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Italy, www.tigem.it
Pedro Mendes, University of Manchester, UK, www.manchester.ac.uk
Neil Lawrence, Magnus Rattray, University of Sheffield, UK, www.sheffield.ac.uk
Eric Boix, The CoSMo Company (CoSMo, Complex Systems Modeling) , France, www.thecosmocompany.com
Klaus Mauch, Insilico Biotechnology, Germany, www.insilico-biotechnology.com
Jean-Marie Mouillon, Fluxome, Denmark, www.fluxome.com
For further information and interviews:
Juan Manuel Sarasua, Communication & PR Dept., Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Dr. Aiguader, 88 – Edif. PRBB, 08003 Barcelona. Tel. +34 93 316 02 37, firstname.lastname@example.org