BIOTECH Platform - Transversal platform of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology

Last updated on 28-2-2020 by Lieke Vervoort
January 1, 2016
Project with no end date

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Sciensano's project investigator(s):

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In short

Genomic approaches consist in applying the techniques of genetics and molecular biology to the sequencing of sets of genes or complete genomes with applications of the data in public health. They are key for use in a national public health institute like Sciensano, whose goal is to provide a comprehensive answer to the current and future health challenges in the domains of public health, animal health and food safety.

The BIOTECH platform is a transversal platform within the scientific service Transversal activities in Applied Genomics (TAG) aiming at developing innovative applied genomics approaches to analyse, measure and evaluate data in response to key public health issues. In addition to its scientific activities involving specific research projects, the BIOTECH platform also offers support in applied genomics and molecular biology to other scientific services and stimulates the collaboration between the various services within Sciensano, through a modular approach.

Project summary

The BIOTECH platform is a transversal platform aiming at developing and implementing innovative applied genomics approaches. In addition to its scientific activities involving specific research projects, the platform also offers support in applied genomics and molecular biology to other scientific services and stimulates the collaboration between the various services within the Institute, through a modular approach. The BIOTECH platform has 3 main goals:

Research

Develop innovative genomic approaches to analyse, measure and evaluate data in response to key public health issues. This implies the development, improvement and validation of different sequencing technologies, ranging from first (Sanger), over second (short read) to third (long read) generation sequencing, in different domains such as

  • the prevention and treatment of current and emerging communicable diseases in humans and animals,
  • the evaluation of antimicrobial resistance and its underlying mechanisms,
  • the detection of human genetic and epigenetic biomarkers in non-invasive body fluids,
  • metagenomics approaches (targeted and shotgun)
  • Additionally, we initiate/coordinate/execute/participate to (multidisciplinary) research projects in collaboration with other units of Sciensano, including new research projects/activities to anticipate on emerging needs for Public Health.

Services

  • Develop, implement and maintain unique technological platforms dedicated to applied genomics (in the context of routine services and applied research),
  • Generate and to analyse data (i.e. to regularly evaluate the needs of Sciensano in molecular biology/biotechnology/NGS)
  • Centralise high-tech equipment for molecular biology and applied genomics, including a centralised Sanger and NGS sequencing platform
  • Sciensano staff in state-of-the-art applied genomics tools
  • Make the expertise in applied genomics available for the users.

Expertise

  • Deliver scientific support to the competent authorities for regulation and quality control, and assurance of the integration of applied genomic tools like NGS into routine clinical use, food safety and public health.

These actions will contribute to the strengthen the repertoire of applied genomics tools used at Sciensano for routine analyses and in policy-supporting applied scientific health research in humans and animals, including health care. They will stimulate the complementary collaboration between scientific services within Sciensano, in order to increase the critical mass in different public health topics related to applied genomics in a synergistic way.

 

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