Integrative program

Less than ten years ago we have assisted to the beginning of an unprecedented paradigm shift in biology. The parallel availability of complete genomic sequences, of new technologies for high-throughput data production and of new data mining algorithms allowed the dream of detailed functional description of the whole cell machinery to start becoming a reality.

This paradigm shift is characterized by the slow and progressive converging movements toward life sciences themes of other domains of scientific knowledge, mainly mathematics, physics, information technology and engineering. At the end of 2007 the starting phase of a new academic program in biotechnology at the University of Trento produced the opportunity for the establishment of a converging program with a genuine, innate integrative nature.

The Centre for Integrative Biology promotes integration in life science research of at least three different local research systems. The first one is that represented by the four founding Departments at the University of Trento, the Department of Physics, the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Information and Communication Technology, and the Department of Materials Engineering and Industrial Technologies. Researchers belonging to these Departments are interested in launching new research lines characterized by a strong multidisciplinary character centred on biological topics.

Other research centres of the University of Trento, again characterized by a prevalent life science focus, have already established with CIBIO a system of joint collaborations and programs. Among these centres, the Microsoft Research-University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology, devoted to biological modelling, will soon start to collaborate with CIBIO on a framework of common research interests to promote the integration of experimental and computational approaches. Finally, integrative programs are discussed with four other local institutions, the provincial Santa Chiara Hospital for clinically-oriented projects, the Fondazione Edmund Mach for nutrigenomics-related activities, the Fondazione Bruno Kessler for nanotechnology applications and the CNR-Institute of Biophysics for biophysics-related investigations.