The melding of digital and biological information is revolutionizing the way we explore knowledge in the life sciences. Positioned at this crossroad is bioinformatics—an interdisciplinary science that harnesses the power of data management and computational methods to delve into biological complexities.

Across the globe, numerous researchers and entities are converging to address the significant biological challenges that exist, ranging from local to international spectrums. In light of this, the Bioinformatics Grand Challenges Consortium (BGCC) has been established. Its vision is to not only enhance existing efforts but to foster global collaboration among institutions and organizations. The goal is to proactively assess forthcoming challenges in bioinformatics and to collaboratively propose innovative solutions. A ‘grand challenge’ in this context is characterized as a multifaceted problem that demands more than just additional funds, time, or resources. It requires a fundamental rethinking and innovative approach.

Members of the BGCC consortium, each a subject matter expert, can choose to engage in specialized working committees. These committees deliberate on pertinent grand challenges within bioinformatics. Their objectives are manifold: to delineate the challenges, to brainstorm potential solutions, to create tangible metrics for tracking progress, and to share their collective findings with the broader community.

One of the hallmarks of BGCC is its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. This ensures a holistic perspective on bioinformatics challenges. As such, BGCC endeavours to produce dynamic guide documents, which are updated as the domain of bioinformatics advances. An example of BGCC’s proactive approach can be seen in its first undertaken project. It sought to delineate the grand challenges surrounding bioinformatics education and training (1). For this endeavour, a dedicated group comprising seasoned educators and trainers was assembled. These experts, drawn from reputed organizations such as ISCBGOBLETAPBioNETELIXIRBiocluesSolBio, and the H3ABioNet, collaborated to pinpoint the paramount challenges in bioinformatics education and training.

Reference(s):
1- Işık, E.B., Brazas, M.D., Schwartz, R. et al. Grand challenges in bioinformatics education and training. Nat Biotechnol 41, 1171–1174 (2023). https://rdcu.be/dnCAd

2-Asif M Khan, Esra Büşra Işık, Tin Wee Tan. A global initiative on addressing bioinformatics’ grand challenges. Briefings in Bioinformatics, Volume 25, Issue 4, July 2024, https://doi.org/10.1093/bib/bbae278

BGCC Members are as follows (up-to-date as of 3 October 2023):

ASIA

Tan Tin Wee
Founding Convenor & Advisor, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University
of Singapore, Singapore;
CEO, National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC), Singapore.

M. Asif Khan
President, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Member, Executive Board, Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training
(GOBLET);
University of Doha for Science and Technology, Doha, Qatar

Christian Schönbach (Deceased)
Vice President, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Professor and Department Chair, School of Sciences and Humanities, Department of Biology,
Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan.

Harpreet Singh
Secretary, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Head, Department of Bioinformatics, Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (HRMMV), India;
Executive Board, BIOinformatics CLUb for Experimenting Scientists (BIOCLUES), India.

Ge Gao
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Principal Investigator, Peking University, China.

Yun Zheng
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Professor, State Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research;
Institute of Primate Translational Medicine, Kunming University of Science and Technology, China.

Gitanjali Yadav
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Group Leader, National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), India;
Professor (Adjunct), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal;
Trustee, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Prashanth Suravajhala
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Principal Scientist, Amrita University, India;
Founding and Executive Board, BIOinformatics CLUb for Experimenting Scientists (BIOCLUES), India.

Hilyatuz Zahroh
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Member, Board of Directors, Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF);
Researchers, Universitas YARSI, Indonesia.

Kenta Nakai
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Professor, University of Tokyo, Japan.

Maurice Ling
Honorary Director, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET) Limited;
Research Assistant Professor, Perdana University, Malaysia;
Lecturer, School of Applied Science, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore

Yam Wai Keat
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Senior Lecturer, International Medical University, Malaysia.

Zeti Azura Mohamed Hussein
Executive Committee, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Professor, Faculty of Science & Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Esra Büşra Işık
Member, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET).
Research Assistant, Bezmialem Vakif University, Turkey;

Sheng Kumamoto
Professor, International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS), Kumamoto
University, Japan.

Ramasubbu Sankararamakrishnan
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of
Technology Kanpur, India.

Vinod Scaria
Former Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology
(CSIR-IGIB), India.

Fangqing Zhao
Principal Investigator, Computational Genomics Lab, Beijing Institutes of Life Science,
Chinese Academy of Sciences (BIOLS), China.

AFRICA

Nicola Mulder
Leader, H3ABioNET, Pan African Bioinformatics Network;
Professor and Head of Computational Biology Group, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

 

EUROPE

Cath Brooksbank
Head of Training, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), UK.

Celia W.G van Gelder
Training Programme Manager, Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL/ELIXIR-NL), Netherlands;
Chair of the Executive Board, Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training
(GOBLET).

Eija Korpelainen
Member, Executive Board, Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training
(GOBLET);
Training Coordinator, ELIXIR-FI, Finland;
Product Manager, CSC – IT Centre for Science Limited.

Javier De Las Rivas
Staff Scientist, Cancer Research Center Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas; University of
Salamanca, Spain;
Executive Board, Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training (GOBLET).

Patricia Palagi
Head of Training, SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Switzerland;
Chair Education COSI, International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).

Sarah Morgan
Hogsden Consultants, UK.

Venkata Pardhasaradhi Satagopam
Senior Researcher, Bioinformatics Core Group, the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB),
Luxembourg.

Pedro J. Ballester
Royal Society Wolfson Fellow; Senior Lecturer, Department of Bioengineering,
Imperial College London, UK.

Kim Gurwitz
Scientific Training Lead (Grants Programme), EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute, UK

AUSTRALIA

Annette Mcgrath
Principal Research Scientist; Team Leader, Life Science Informatics, CSIRO, Australia;
Executive Board, Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training (GOBLET).

Bruno Andre Gaeta
Advisor, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNET);
Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science and Engineering, the University of New South Wales
(UNSW Sydney), Australia.

Shoba Ranganathan
Professor, Applied BioSciences, Macquarie University, Australia.

Pengyi Yang
NHMRC Investigator;
Unit Head, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Charles Perkins Centre;
Associate Professor, School of Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Science, The
University of Sydney, Australia.

Saman K. Halgamuge
Professor, Optimization and Pattern Recognition Research Group, Department of
Mechanical Engineering, School of Electrical, Mechanical and Infrastructure
Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Eduardo Eyras
Professor, EMBL Australia Group Leader, John Curtin School of Medical Research,
Australian National University, Australia.

Vanessa M. Hayes
Professor, Petre Chair of Prostate Cancer Research, Director, DoD HEROIC Prostate
Cancer Precision Health Africa1K (HEROIC PCaPH Africa1K), Head of Ancestry &
Health Genomics Laboratory, Charles Perkins Centre, John Hopkins Dr, Camperdown
NSW 2006, School of Medical Sciences, Cancer Theme, University of Sydney,
Australia.

NORTH AMERICA

Michelle D. Brazas
Associate Director, Adaptive Oncology & Program Manager, Genome Informatics and Computational
Biology, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada;
Secretariat, Executive Board & Member, Board of Directors, International Society for Computational
Biology (ISCB).

Russell Schwartz
Professor and Head, Computational Biology Department, Carnegie Mellon University;
Vice President, Board of Directors, International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).

Lukasz Kurgan
Robert J. Mattauch Endowed Professor, Department of Computer Science, Virginia
Commonwealth University, US.

Steven George Rozen
Director of Bioinformatics and Research Computing, Duke School of Medicine, US.

Xinghua (Mindy) Shi
Associate Professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Temple
University, Philadelphia, US.