June 22, 2020

New Winship shared resource advances bioinformatics and systems biology

Photo of New Winship shared resource advances bioinformatics and systems biology

Manoj Bhasin, PhD is the inaugural scientific director of Winship's new Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Shared Resource.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University (Winship) has launched a new shared resource that builds on Emory's existing strengths in informatics, data, and computational sciences. The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (BiSB) Shared Resource is Winship's eleventh core facility to offer specialized scientific technologies, services, and expertise that facilitate cancer research.

The launch of the BiSB Shared Resource reflects the realization of a planned strategy to split the existing Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource (BBISR) into separate shared resources to further develop each service portfolio to best meet the needs of the Winship research community. The former Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource will now be known as the Biostatistics Shared Resource, a change that reflects the unique services and focus areas of the two facilities. The Biostatistics Shared Resource will continue to provide statistical analysis service with a focus on basic, translational, and clinical trial design and outcomes research.

Manoj Bhasin, PhD has been appointed as the inaugural scientific director of the BiSB Shared Resource. Bhasin, a Winship member, holds joint appointments as an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Emory University School of Medicine. He is also director of Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and director of the Single Cell Biology Program at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Before joining Emory, Bhasin was an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and served as co-director of the Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"I am thrilled to be the inaugural director of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Shared Resource," says Bhasin. "In designing this new shared resource, we wanted to provide investigators with high-quality services and platforms that will have a meaningful impact on their research."

The mission of the BiSB Shared Resource is to is to provide expertise and infrastructure in the design, analysis, and simulation of high-throughput omics data to answer underlying biological questions. The facility, housed on the 4th floor of the Health Sciences Research Building, will open on July 1. The shared resource will provide support for the design and analysis of single cell genomics, proteomics, ATAC-Seq, and immune repertoire, as well as data analysis from many next-generation sequencing assays. The BiSB will also develop and implement systems biology frameworks and models, as well as a unique service to predict the neo-antigenic regions for personalized cancer vaccines.

The creation of the BiSB Shared Resource and the Biostatistics Shared Resource as distinct entities reflects the growth of these individual fields and their importance to understand the complexity of cancers.

"Dr. Bhasin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as the director of this new shared resource," says Adam Marcus, PhD, associate director for basic research and shared resources at Winship. "We anticipate that the BiSB Shared Resource will benefit ongoing research as well as expand further into cancer systems biology."

Funded in part by a Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute (P30CA1382929), Winship shared resources are accessible to researchers throughout Emory and to researchers from outside institutions. Winship members are eligible to receive a subsidy on these resources.

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