The core competence of BIOBIX (within the Department of Data Analysis and Mathematical Modelling) is bioinformatics for high-throughput “omics” applications. Currently, we focus on developing novel data-analytical tools and models for (epi)genomics, transcriptomics, translatomics and proteomics data, typically to study cancer or aging. Additionally, we apply our and other state-of-the-art methods in several collaborative projects for e.g. crop protection or biomarker discovery.
Current strongholds are the study of allele-specific expression in health and disease (imprinting, eQTLs, allelic imbalance), translatomics research (riboseq, epitranscriptomics), protein-protein interactions (together with Prof. F. Peelman, UGent) and the study of the aging genome. BIOBIX also relies on a broad collaboration network, particularly in the epigenetics field (e.g. the company MDX Health; Prof. J. Herman, University of Pittsburgh; Prof. M. van Engeland, Maastricht University; Prof. G. Meijer, Amsterdam University; Prof. B. Wisman & Prof. E. Schuuring, Groningen University), but also in the field of crop protection (e.g. Prof T. Kyndt; Prof. T. Van Leeuwen & Dr. W. Dermauw, Ghent University). The aging oriented research particularly involves BIOBIX’s participation in the UGent Asklepios study, a longitudinal population study, with more than 2500 volunteers included, focusing on the interplay between aging, cardiovascular haemodynamics and inflammation in (preclinical) cardiovascular disease. During the first round of the study, telomere lengths were assessed for (almost) all of the subjects, whereas currently we are focusing on the omics of aging.
BIOBIX is also involved in a research valorization platform, BIOMARKED (http://www.biomarked.net), on validation of biomarkers in aging and cancer (Industrial Research Fund IOF-UGent). Several new approaches are on the verge of clinical implementation. In Biomarked we focus on the most innovative technology platforms with the final purpose of generating a new and innovative platform for the identification and validation of novel and more accurate biomarkers for the prediction of both response to therapy and relapse. Finally, together with the Department of Pharmaceutics, BIOBIX is partner of the NXTGNT (http://www.nxtgnt.com) genome analysis facility.