Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Run a Bioinformatics Core

After evaluating an unnamed bioinformatics core facility, a group of bioinformaticians in Europe wrote up a short list of basic guidelines for organizing a bioinformatics core facility in large research institutes.

The full editorial recently appeared in Bioinformatics (PubMed):

A few of the key points are:

  • Bioinformatics departments should separate service roles from research laboratories (maintains transparency and clarifies allocation of funds).
  • Separation of the core into "units" that offer clearly defined services, and installation of "users committees" for each unit that will assist in prioritizing projects needing bioinformatics support.
  • Bioinformatics cores should provide training to "bench" biologists, and should nominate a point person for outreach and education in publicly available bioinformatics tools and databases to encourage biologists to incorporate bioinformatics into their research workflow.

The authors tell us that at their respective institutions, they have approximately 1 full-time bioinformatician to support 100 scientists. This seems woefully imbalanced to me, and I wonder how this will change in the near future as more basic science research labs start incorporating large-scale -omics data into their research programs.

Kallioniemi, O., Wessels, L., & Valencia, A. (2011). On the organization of bioinformatics core services in biology-based research institutes. Bioinformatics (Oxford, England), 27(10), 2011-2011. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btr125 (PubMed).

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the 1 bioinformatician is to maintain the general services, for instance keeping a server running - that's really not to hard, I've experienced. And they have 5-10 times that many bioinformaticians embedded in each research group, giving specific support etc to researchers.


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