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The CCBI has been set up to bring together the unique strengths of Cambridge in medicine, biology, mathematics and the physical sciences. Its aim is to create a centre of excellence in research and teaching and to promote collaborations both within the Cambridge area and beyond.
The research covers a diverse range of topics from the basic genetics of bacteria through to developmental biology, evolutionary biology and the complex cell biology of human disease, as well as the emerging field of systems biology. An integrated multidisciplinary approach will cover basic research as well as applications in healthcare and biotechnology.
We are living in a very exciting time for biology: whole-genome sequencing has opened up the field of genome scale biology and with this a trend to larger-scale experiments. However it is also a time of great opportunity for small-scale biology as there is a new wealth of data to build from: one can turn to a computer to ask questions that previously might have taken months to answer in the laboratory. One of the great challenges for the field is analysing the large amounts of complex data generated, and synthesising them into useful systems-wide models of biological processes. Whether operating on a large or small scale the use of mathematical and computational methods is becoming an integral part of biological research.
There is a world-wide shortage of high-quality computational biologists. An important part of the CCBI is an MPhil course for graduates at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. The 11-month course introduces students to bioinformatics and other quantitative aspects of modern biology and medicine. It is intended both for those whose first degree is in biology, and for mathematicians, computer scientists and others wishing to learn about the subject in preparation for a PhD course or a career in industry and commerce.
The CCBI is
- Creating new cross-Cambridge research projects
- Running workshops to exchange scientific ideas
- Providing contacts to form new collaborations
- Facilitating access to computational resources
- Coordinating grant funding opportunities
- Launching new degree programs
- Creating a consortium of large and small companies