Some of the leading lights in the “omics” fields – genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics - worldwide work in the BioAlps cluster. Genomics is the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes intensive efforts to determine the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping efforts. “Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions. Proteins are vital parts of living organisms, as they are the main components of the physiological metabolic pathways of cells.
Bioinformatics is the application of information technology to the field of molecular biology. Bioinformatics entails the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data.
From training through basic and applied research, the institutions in the cluster offer postgraduate courses in each specialty. The University of Geneva proposes a Master degree in proteomics and bioinformatics, organized jointly by the Faculties of Medicine and Sciences of the University of Geneva and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.
The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) is an academic, non-profit foundation which coordinates research and education in bioinformatics throughout Switzerland and provides high quality bioinformatics services to the national and international research community. The Center for Integrative Genomics (CIG) is a new interdisciplinary research and training institute located on the campus of the University of Lausanne (UNIL).
The latter offers a Master degree in genomics and experimental biology. The EPFL provides some teaching in proteomics, connected to the Brain Mind Institute. The Swiss Proteomics Society, based in Geneva, is a member of the European Proteomics Association and offers a number of training courses in proteomics.
The Proteomics Core Facility at EPFL, located in Lausanne, provides services for specific projects led within University of Lausanne, EPFL , while the Proteomics Core Facility (formerly known as SWISS-2DSERVICE) at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva includes services such as analytical and preparative high-resolution 2-D PAGE, high-throughput mass spectrometry analysis for identification, mass determination or large-scale quantitation.
Also in Lausanne, the EPFL’s Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) supports cancer research projects and the training of research scientists of tomorrow. Some specific ISREC research projects involve a collaboration with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.
Most of the players in the genomics/proteomics/bioinformatics arena in the BioAlps cluster provide services such as access to databases and computational tools. Hardware providers for the elucidation of DNA and protein sequences are international technology developers based elsewhere.
The Protein Analysis Facility (PAF) at the University of Lausanne is a service and research laboratory specialized in the analysis of proteins and proteomes. The primary mission of the Protein Analysis Facility is to support the local academic community and to act as a catalyst in the application of advanced technologies to analyse protein expression and function.
The Computational Cancer Genomics (CCG) group of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) is dedicated to the development of analysis tools and databases relating molecular sequences and biological functions.
Among the companies active in the “omics” fields, Geneva Bioinformatics (GeneBio) is a leading bioinformatics company providing the life sciences community with world-class software that bridges the gap between information gathering and knowledge generation. The expertise is focused on mass spectrometry characterization of proteins and small molecules as well as proteome imaging, offering clients and partners a high degree of specialization essential to their research.
Atheris Laboratories is a contract research organisation providing services including protein studies.
Visualbiotech, a young start-up, is able to produce scientifically accurate 3D visualizations and simulations of Life Sciences, such as the mode of actions of different drugs. Pharmionic Systems, part of the Aardex Group, develops and applies novel statistical methods for the analysis and interpretation of dosing history data and their ability to explain the medical and economic effects of variable compliance or persistence with prescribed medicines.
Pharmionic Systems maintains a growing database of electronically compiled drug dosing histories, currently around 20,000 patients in different fields of ambulatory pharmacotherapeutics, for periods of time ranging between 30 and 1,400 days. This resource is unique in both size and scope.