Launch of “StarLife”, a new informatics infrastructure to boost biomedical research

By March 18, 2019BIST, CRG, IRB Barcelona

StarLife is a joint initiative of BIST centres IRB Barcelona and CRG, along with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. StarLife is funded by the Catalan Government, through the European Regional Development Fund, and by ”la Caixa”.

February 27th 2019 marked the official presentation of “StarLife”, an informatics cluster that is housed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. This infrastructure is designed to give impetus and service to biomedical research of excellence and precision medicine. A joint initiative  of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona),  the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). StarLife is funded by the Catalan Government—through the ERDF —and ”la Caixa”.

StarLife will allow the use of the most advanced computation techniques, such as those applied to detect new genes linked to cancer and rare diseases, or to simulate the behaviour of molecules and thus speed up the drug discovery process.

A leap forward thanks to continuous collaboration

StarLife has come about from collaboration between IRB Barcelona, CRG and BSC, which have been running a Joint Computational Biology Programme—that is to say the use of informatics tools in the field of biology—since 2014. This collaboration encompasses the analysis and sequencing of the genome, biomolecular modelling, and studies on the evolution and development of phylogenetic trees, etc.

“This informatics cluster marks a before and after in our research and consolidates the centres behind this initiative as international references in the field of biomedicine,” says Francesc Posas, Director of IRB Barcelona. “The research community at IRB Barcelona will use it to work on the molecular structure of DNA and on cancer genomics, with a particular emphasis on personalised medicine”.

Luis Serrano, Director of CRG, maintains that “the scale and flexibility of the new cluster will allow the scientists at the centres behind this initiative to conduct cutting-edge research”. Furthermore, “it is an infrastructure that will lend its services to researchers worldwide through the European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA), the main international repository of genomic and medical data on human diseases,” he concludes.

More information can be found on the IRB Barcelona website here and the CRG website here.