Direction and priorities of the institute
To support the development of biotechnology and achieve cutting-edge basic research goals and academic innovation, the research and development priorities of the institute are:
I. Biomedical Big Data and Bioinformatics:
With the advancements in high-speed computers, cloud systems, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and applications are developing rapidly. The availability of large biomedical data can help in understanding many disease-causing mechanisms, drug treatment regimens, and even clinical diagnoses. This could help in realizing the purpose of precision medicine such as designing gene detection systems that are useful in diagnosing autoimmune diseases, cancers, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and others. Our institute has established a complete set of relevant biomedical-related hardware and software facilities and core laboratories for biomedical big data and bioinformatics research. Some of the key research projects include:
- Using machine learning to predict the outcome of shock wave lithotripsy in patients with upper ureteral stones.
- Applying machine learning methods to predict the risk of multiple malignancies.
- Establishing a database to study the effectiveness of small interference fragments in inhibiting gene performance and the association with human diseases.
- Integrating gene expression and ChIP-seq data to explore drug-induced transcriptional regulatory networks.
II. Genomic Medicine:
Genomic medicine is the study of the genetic composition of organisms and the use of gene sequences to solve major problems in biology and medicine. In the past decade, high-throughput genome sequencing and computational analysis algorithms have assisted in decoding the genome of many organisms. The rapid increase in the number of biogenomic data is far beyond human processing. Efficient bioinformatics construction and analysis has become the key to big data application. We are actively engaging in genome sequencing projects involving important organisms, generating a lot of sequence information, and establishing relevant databases. Sequence decoding of important microorganisms is our major focus. Microbial genomics has developed rapidly in recent years. More and more microbial genomes have been sequenced, and humans have had more inspiration and breakthroughs in medical treatment, agriculture, waste pollution treatment, new energy development, industrial processes, and even space technology. The completion of human genome sequencing was an important milestone in the development of nucleic acid sequencing technology, starting with completely sequencing bacteria for the first time. Therefore, the future of nucleic acid sequencing will again focus on microbial genome research. The faculty with expertise in bioinformatics, such as genomic composition, automatic annotation, and analysis have assisted in this work. They have built complete software and hardware facilities and core laboratories for genomic research, and have secured close collaborations with other important research institutions in Taiwan, such as Academia Sinica and the National Institutes of Health. The research projects of key genomic solutions include:
- Dynamic and comparative genomics studies of pathogens.
- Application of high throughput sequencing in clinical microbiology.
- Predicting the evolution of epidemics and the development of vaccines.
- Genomics of medicinal plants and application of metabolites.
III. Drug Design and Development:
The detailed structural analysis of biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids can reveal their biological functions and role in disease mechanisms. Understanding these structures can help in designing specific drugs to treat these diseases. In addition, molecular dynamics and simulations of these biomolecules can greatly shorten the actual experimental time and reduce the structure-based drug design research cost. From the structural point of view, protein engineering technology can enhance the activity of existing enzymes and may contribute to the success of the biotechnology and health industries. Our institute has established comprehensive facilities and core laboratories for genomics and structural proteomics research. The institute has successively obtained subsidies and affirmations from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) for pursuing excellence in large collaborative projects. The institute recruited teachers with expertise in structural biology and protein engineering to establish the Proteomics Center. For research, the institute has established different biophysical facilities, such as X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, SPR, fluorescence spectroscopy, and ultra-high-speed centrifugation. In addition, the institute has also built plant tissue culture and animal cell culture facilities for in-depth research on the mechanism and function of important proteins and enzymes. The key research projects are:
- Structural and functional studies of yeast chromatin remodeling complex.
- JAK/STAT signal transmission pathway of Drosophila models.
- Enhancing the stability of industrially important enzymes.
- Functional and structural studies on coronavirus nucleocapsid protein.
- The research and development of anticancer drugs and understanding the anti-cancer mechanisms.
- The structure, function, and biotechnological applications of lipase/esterase.
IV. Clinical Precision Medicine:
Precision medicine is based on the genetic differences between patients, social environment, and lifestyle to develop different treatment or prevention measures, including medical decision-making, diagnosis and treatment, and disease prevention. Patients are divided into different subgroups according to disease susceptibility and biology, genetic bases, and different responses to different treatment strategies. This ensures the allocation of appropriate medical treatment to the different subgroups to improve treatment effectiveness and reduce medical expenditure. From diagnosis to medical decision-making, precision medicine uses basic biomedical and biological information such as molecular biological detection technology, big data technology, and genomics. Analyzing biological information, genetic characteristics, disease diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment tracking cannot only apply to cancer, genetic, or rare disease treatment. It is also useful in chronic disease treatment, management tracking, risk analysis, prevention, and overall health management. The institute integrates the expertise of clinicians and teachers to research the development and application of medical big data and biological information, genomic medicine, and new drug development. Clinical practice experience can be useful in translational medicine, helping to achieve the specific goals of precision medicine. Our main focus is:
- Development of biological indicators.
- Medical information management.
- Epidemiological studies.
- Molecular medicine research.