Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics

The development direction and priorities of the institute

In order to cooperate with the development of national biotechnology and achieve cutting-edge basic research goals and academic innovation, the research and development priorities of the institute are as follows:

I. Biomedical Big Data and Bioinformatics:

With the advancements in high-speed computers, cloud systems and artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics and applications are developing rapidly. The availability of a large amount of biomedical data that can help to understand many disease-causing mechanisms, drug treatment regimens, and even clinical diagnosis. This will help to achieve the goals of precision medicine such as designing the genetic detection systems which can be useful to diagnose the autoimmune diseases, cancers, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and others. Our institute has a complete infrastructure for big data and biomedical-related hardware and software facilities and core laboratories required for studying the biological information. Some of the key research projects include:

1. Use machine learning to predict the outcome of shock wave lithotripsy for patients with upper ureteral stones.

2. Apply machine learning methods to predict the risk factors for multiple malignancies.

3. A database to study the effectiveness of small interference fragments in inhibiting gene performance and its association with human diseases.

4. Integrate gene expression and ChIP-seq data to explore drug-induced transcriptional regulatory networks.

II. Genomic Medicine:

Genomic medicine is a study of the composition of biological genes and how to use gene sequences to solve major problems in the fields of biology, and medicine. In the past decade, high-throughput genome sequencing and computational analysis algorithms have contributed to the genome decoding 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. At present, we are actively engaged in the genome sequencing project of important organisms, which also generates a lot of sequence information and establishes relevant databases. Among them, sequence decoding of important microorganisms is more important. Microbial genomics has developed rapidly in recent years. More and more microbial genomes have been sequenced, so that humans can have more new inspiration and breakthrough in medical treatment, agriculture, waste pollution treatment, new energy development, industrial process, and even space technology. Although in the development of nucleic acid sequencing technology, the completion of human genome sequencing has been an important milestone since bacteria were completely sequenced for the first time, it is believed that the future of nucleic acid sequencing will again focus on the research of microbial genome. 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 close cooperation 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:

1. Dynamic and comparative genomics studies of pathogens.

2. Application of high throughput sequencing in clinical microbiology.

3. Predict the evolution of epidemics and development of vaccines.

4. 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. The structure understanding can be helpful in designing  specific drugs to treat the diseases. In addition, molecular dynamics and simulations of these biomolecules can greatly shorten the actual experimental time, reduce the research cost in structure based drug design research. Using structural point of view, the protein engineering technology can enhance the activity of existing enzymes which may contribute additional applications in biotechnology and health industries. Our institute has established comprehensive facilities and core laboratories for the genomic and structural proteomics. 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 and recruited the teachers who are experts in structural biology and protein engineering to established 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 also built the 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:

1. Structural and functional studies of yeast chromatin remodeling complex.

2. JAK/STAT signal transmission pathway of Drosophila models.

3. Enhancing the stability of industrially important enzymes.

4. Functional and structural studies on coronavirus nucleocapsid protein.

5. The research and development of anticancer drugs and understanding the anti-cancer mechanisms.

6. 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. According to the disease susceptibility, disease biology and gene information basis, and the different response to different treatment strategies, patients are divided into different subgroups, and appropriate medical treatment is given for different subgroups, with the purpose of improving treatment effectiveness and reducing medical expenditure. From diagnosis to medical decision-making, precision medicine is related to the application of basic biomedical and biological information such as molecular biological detection technology, big data technology and genomics. Through the information analysis of biological database and gene characteristics, disease diagnosis and treatment, and post-treatment tracking, it can not only be applied to cancer, genetic disease or rare disease treatment, but also focus on chronic disease treatment and management tracking, disease risk analysis, disease prevention and health management. The institute integrates clinicians and teachers to assist the research development and application of medical big data and biological information, genomic medicine and new drug development. The precision medicine group in our institute with clinical practice experience, can be useful in translational medicine to achieves the specific goals of precision medicine. Our main focus is:

1. Development of biological indicators.

2. Medical information management.

3. Epidemiological studies.

4. Molecular medicine research.