First Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in personalized molecular oncology

The University Hospital of Basel is launching a CAS in personalized molecular oncology with the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the University Hospital of Lausanne. First of its kind in Switzerland, this training takes place at a key point in time and matches the growing interest for personalized medicine at the national level, as exemplified by initiatives like the Swiss Personalized Health Network led by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

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Paleogenomics suggest inbreeding avoidance in early humans

Were our prehistoric ancestors aware of the dangers caused by procreation among close relatives? A study led by an international team of scientists, including SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Group Leader Laurent Excoffier and his team at the University of Bern, suggests that early humans might have purposely avoided mating with closely related partners. And this as early as 34,000 years ago.

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From infrastructure planning to implementation, BioMedIT progresses

Update on the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN)

Designed to promote the development of personalized health in Switzerland, the SPHN initiative will lay the foundations to foster research projects in this area, including mechanisms facilitating the nationwide exchange of health-related data. In this context, SIB has been mandated to run SPHN’s Data Coordination Centre (DCC) and is managing the BioMedIT project.

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SIB held its first training course for clinical lab professionals

On 28 September, the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics held its first course dedicated to clinicians and clinical laboratory professionals.
This one-day course aimed at providing participants with a deepened knowledge, experience and understanding of how to make the best use of bioinformatics to improve cancer diagnosis.

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SIB’s Swiss-Prot Group co-director Alan Bridge on the future of biocuration

As announced in May, Alan Bridge is taking up the co-director role of SIB’s Swiss-Prot Group, thus succeeding to Lydie Bougueleret. He gives us his vision of the future for a unique profession, biocuration, and for the Swiss-Prot Group, one of its best-known exponents.

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Latest Protein Spotlight: A touch of warmth

We need heat. All warm-blooded animals know this instinctively because when life leaves us, the cold creeps in fast. Heat is produced in different ways inside us, and not only to keep our body temperature at a healthy level but also to keep it stable. After the fashion of small mobile furnaces, we carry adipose tissues that are full of stored fat waiting to be burnt down to release heat - a process termed thermogenesis.

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SourceData is making data discoverable

A push for a paradigm change in scientific publication. Bringing to the surface information buried in the figures of scientific papers: this is the purpose of SourceData, an open-access platform developed by EMBO in collaboration with the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. SourceData allows researchers and publishers to share figures and their underlying data in a machine-readable, searchable format. This award-winning publishing innovation is highlighted in a Nature Methods paper this week, as well as in the journal’s Editorial.

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Genome Odyssey: A theatrical journey through scientific research

Spearheaded by SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics' Group Leader Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas and in partnership with Group Leader Laurent Excoffier, Genome Odyssey is a theater play inspired by the scientists' recent paper in Nature on Australia’s peopling. It is inviting the public to a journey through our genome and origins.

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Latest Protein Spotlight: Seeking past shelter

Nothing can survive without the means to defend itself. If bacteria are unable to protect themselves from freezing temperatures, they perish. If we cannot fight off the flu virus, we pass away. If plants cannot ward off toxic fungi, they wilt and die. In fact, we all spend a lot of time shunning "stresses", of either biological (biotic) origin, or non-biological (abiotic) origin.

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Join us at ILMAC - 4-5 October, Lausanne

ILMAC, a leading Swiss fair for pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biotechnology is having its first event in Western Switzerland in October. SIB will be present to showcase its activities, with a special focus on its training offer for the private sector. Our booth will be hosted by BioAlps – the life science cluster of Western Switzerland – together with other institutional co-exhibitors and the event is expected to attract ca. 300 visitors a day.

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A thorough ‘catalogue’ of an aggressive type of childhood cancer

Improving cancer precision therapy requires a greater ability to identify and describe groups of patients who share the same molecular and clinical particularities. An SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics group recently played a pivotal role in building the most thorough ‘catalogue’ of an aggressive type of childhood cancer – thus providing a basis for novel therapeutic treatments.

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A look back on the 13th edition of [BC]2

Last week, the 13th edition of the Basel Computational Biology Conference, co-organized by SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the Biozentrum University of Basel, gathered over 500 participants from all over the globe. Among them, world-leading researchers as well as promising junior scientists – who returned home with prestigious awards.

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Harmful mutations and range expansion: computers got it right

Organisms that are expanding their spatial range suffer from a drastic decrease of fitness over time due to the accumulation of harmful mutations. A study led by a team of scientists from the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the University of Bern now provides the first experimental evidence of this theory. The article is published in Genetics and selected in the issue’s highlights.

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Latest Protein Spotlight: A taste of light

Light gave life a chance to be. Without it, our planet would not be inhabited by so many living beings of all shapes and sizes. Over time, animals, plants and all sorts of microorganisms have emerged and evolved using this source of photons in different ways. Like hosts of other creatures, we use light for vision so that we can discern individual entities that make up our environment, as well as movement within it.

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