‘Biological research is in the midst of a revolutionary change1. This revolution is being driven by the explosive increase in our ability to rapidly and cheaply sequence whole genomes integrated with new concepts and methods derived from computer science, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics, genomics, population genetics, ecology, evolutionary biology, earth sciences and medical sciences. As never before, these new advances in genome-enabled biological research hold tremendous promise for surmounting many of the major challenges facing the UK and the world, including sustainable food production, protection of the environment, renewable energy, and improvement in human health. The Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine at the University of Aberdeen aims to capture opportunities in this area by providing facilities to allow multidisciplinary intellectual communities interested in integrating genomics into their research, teaching and postgraduate training to flourish around the concept of genome-enabled biology. The Centre will build on the Universities existing strengths, develop new expertise where required, and facilitate the multidisciplinary research needed to catalyze research across scales from DNA to the globe to address the major societal issues of our time. The Centre will provide a strong integrative principle supporting the multidisciplinary research required to achieve pre-eminence in the areas of environmental sustainability, pathways to a healthy life and bioenergy, sitting at the intersection of these three strategic interdisciplinary themes. In support of the Universities strategic objectives the Centre will deliver new educational opportunities to train the next generation of scientists in genome-enabled biology and its application. By promoting genome-enabled biological and medical research the Centre will enhance our international competitiveness as a research-driven University, enable the University to attract and retain top researchers and students, and allow the University to contribute to the development of evidence-based policy in this area at the national and international level. By its very nature genome-enabled biological research is multidisciplinary, providing a critical nucleation point to support rational problem-focused science. From its inception, with the multinational and multi-institutional efforts to sequence the genomes of many important species including human, wheat, rice and maize, genome-enabled biology has had a strong international heritage. The Centre will allow the University to connect to this strong ethos of pluralism and internationalism, bringing with it new opportunities to enhance our reputation globally.’

 

Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka and Professor James Prosser

1 A New Biology for the 21st Century, National Academy of Sciences, 2009.