22 June 2011

A new national facility at The University of Queensland will boost Australian research access to the world’s leading life sciences data resource.

Professor Richard Larkins, Chairman of EMBL Australia, late yesterday announced the opening of a new national facility that will provide Australian researchers faster, richer biological data more easily.

“The EMBL Australia Mirror of EMBL-EBI replicates the most-used data services of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI),” Prof Larkins said.

“Using the Mirror, Australian researchers will be able to access important research data 10 times faster than it would normally take from the EBI—reducing download times from days to hours or hours to minutes.

“They will also have access to a national team of bioinformaticians who can assist them with accessing data and processing the large volume of data—often terabytes in size—generated by modern experimental techniques,” Professor Larkins said.

The Mirror has been created to improve data services for Australian life scientists and to open up new opportunities for collaboration and attracting investment into Australian life sciences, biotechnology and information and communications technology.

For example, the facility could be used to enhance Australia’s research strengths in agricultural biotechnology. It will also position Australia as the Asia-Pacific interface to EMBL-EBI.

The EMBL Australia Mirror is located The University of Queensland, but accessible nationally and internationally via www.ebi.edu.au.

“UQ is delighted to host the EMBL Australia Mirror, which will provide the Australian scientific community with new opportunities for breakthrough research in genomics enabling innovative applications in a range of areas such as smart therapies and personalised medicine,” Professor Max Lu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of The University of Queensland, said.

The facility is funded and supported by EMBL Australia, the Queensland Government, The University of Queensland, Bioplatforms Australia, the Australian National Data Services and the Australian Government.

EMBL-EBI is based in the UK and is one of the five campuses of the renowned European Molecular Biology Laboratory. EMBL-EBI grew out of EMBL's pioneering work to provide public biological databases to the research community.

EMBL Australia is an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO and Australian Group of Eight universities. EMBL Australia seeks to internationalise and enhance Australian research excellence through the creation of a national network of research laboratories, programs to accelerate the career of outstanding scientists and collaborative projects. It was formed in 2008 to maximise the benefits of Australia’s associate membership of the EMBL.

Media contact: Rachel Taylor - 0411 288 672 or rachel.taylor@emblaustralia.org

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