MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology is officially opened by Sir John Savill

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Left to right: Sir David Weatherall, Sir John Savill, Professor Alastair Buchan

The MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology is a new purpose-built facility at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) which brings together experts in analysis of large computational datasets. The new Centre was officially opened by Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, during a ceremony held at the WIMM on Wednesday 7th December.

Building work on the new Centre started in November 2015, funded jointly by the MRC (via a Clinical Research Capabilities and Technologies Initiative award) and the University of Oxford. The Centre now houses the Computational Biology Research Group (originally established at the WIMM in 2003), and the Computational Genomics Analysis and Training group (originally established in 2010 by Professor Chris Ponting).

In addition, the Centre houses independent computational research groups in specialist areas such as genome biology (Jim Hughes) and quantitative biology of cell fate and tissue dynamics (Ed Morrissey). The Centre is also currently recruiting two new MRC Fellows in Computational Biology.

As part of the opening ceremony, members of the Institute were invited to a seminar in which Professor Doug Higgs, Director of the MRC WIMM, spoke of the strong links that the Centre has with other computational groups throughout Oxford, building a network of skills, expertise and academic excellence in the field. Sir John Savill described the MRC’s commitment to continuing to support bioinformatics initiatives, in recognition of the critical importance of computational biology to many areas of biomedical research.

Professor Alastair Buchan, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, described the strengths in computational biology across the Division and the University in general. He praised the co-ordinated approach to building capacity in this field, as illustrated by the new MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology. 

Professor Doug Higgs said: "Thanks to funding from the MRC and the University of Oxford, the new Centre will provide an opportunity for collaboration between a wide range of research groups in the Medical Sciences Division. Importantly, we aim to provide high quality specialist training in computational biology for students, post-docs and clinical training fellows."

Sir John Savill said: "Building capacity in all aspects of computational biology and medical bioinformatics in the UK is a priority for the MRC. Our commitment to this is illustrated by our support for the new MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology. As in the past, the MRC WIMM is again at the forefront of applying the latest developments in biomedicine to important clinical problems.” 

For more information about the Centre, please contact the Director of the MRC WIMM, Doug Higgs, via Liz Cloke: liz.cloke@imm.ox.ac.uk

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