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Solving biological and biomedical problems through computer science

An event gathered over 120 researchers, clinicians and postgraduate student from 30 different schools, centres and institutes across the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently.

According to a recent report, they came together to share their experience and challenges across the field of bioinformatics.

The objective of the event was to highlight the research happening across the University, connect the different skill sets, and enhance opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Given the chance for professional matchmaking, more than 22 short and sharp presentations were made by researchers to their colleagues.

The presenters showcased their research interests, areas of challenge and opportunities for collaboration.

The event was organised in order to increase awareness around several activities being undertaken by researchers and clinicians that are either bioinformatics-based or have bioinformatics need.

Half of the attendees submitted a slide to be displayed during the matchmaking lunch indicating an interest and need to collaborate in the field.

After the event, 81% of those surveyed and interested were matched, while 70% of those connections were cross-faculty/institute.

Bioinformatics is a relatively new field of study that combines elements of biology and computer science. It underpins and enables research across the life sciences.

The life sciences range from sciences featuring genomics, proteomics and the regulations of gene activity, epigenetics, protein and RNA structure and function, cell organisation, to comparative, evolutionary and systems biology.

Bioinformatics uses computers, software and databases to answer big biological and/or biomedical questions.

It has real-world applications in the development of personalised and preventative medicine, drug development, evolutionary studies, climate change, waste clean-up and a range of other research areas.

Bioinformatics lies in the middle of biology, molecular medicine, computer science, maths and statistics. It intrinsically requires experts to come together from faculties of engineering, biology and medicine.

The possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration are endless since it offers a wide range of research opportunity.

The event wanted to showcase what is happening in the field at the University, where the researchers might need help, and be an avenue for discovery and application.

The University’s School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science and the School of Computer Science and Engineering have shown their support for the event.

Hopefully, this will inspire future research projects since it helped in bringing people together from Science, Medicine and Engineering, who shared their respective projects across the disciplines.

The organisers are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of any matchmaking that were formed through the event and sharing these successes with the Bioinformatics and greater community.

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