red-allow.gif Introduction

Bioinformatics and systems biology are two sides of a coin. Systems scientists study the behavior of a system by analyzing the signals emitted from a system. Bioinformation is actually the signal emitted from a living system, i.e. an organism. Both of these two fields are interdisciplinary fields, which requires the collaboration among people from biology, physical sciences, information science, and engineering. Because of the past promotion, bioinformatics is already on the track. Many universities have established the Institute of Bioinformatics or Bioinformatics Program. In contrast, systems biology is emerging and still need promotion. The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Education Resource Center (abbreviated as “Bisys center”) is actively promoting systems biology based on the past experience in promoting bioinformatics.

The Bisys center is different from other education resource centers in emphasizing in silico approach to discover knowledge. The vision is to use informatics or computational methods to make observations, to propose hypotheses, and to test hypothesis. To reach these goals, this center wanted to attract students from other disciplines, such as physical sciences, information science, and engineering. Thus, this center set up regional centers in different part of Taiwan by requesting for partner universities. The partner universities are encouraged to offer interdisciplinary courses and to make distant learning material for these courses. Hopefully, systems biology programs will be established in the partner universities before the end of 2009.

 
red-allow.gifOrganization 
Planning committee

In order to get experts’ opinion to promote bioinformatics and systems biology, the bisys center has invited experts from biology, physical sciences, information science, and engineering to form a committee. This committee has made suggestions on how to organize a curriculum for systems biology. This committee also helps the director to evaluate the partner universities. To promote allkinds of activities in the center, there are subcommittees under this committee, which in charge of the book editing, symposium organization, and competition organization, etc. The present committee members include:

 

Name Background Affiliation
Dr. Ueng-Cheng Yang (Director) Biology/informatics Institute of Bioinformatics, National Yang-Ming University
Dr. Shui-Tein Chen Biology Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica
Dr. Ming-Shi Chang Biology Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, National Cheng-Kung University
Dr. Chiou-Hwa Yuh Biology National Health Research Institute
Dr. Jenn-Kang Hwang Biology/informatics Institute of Bioinformatics, National Chiao-Tung University
Dr. Cheng-Hsin Lu Biology/informatics IBM , Taiwan
Dr. Hsuan-Cheng Huang Physics Institute of Bioinformatics, National Yang-Ming University
Dr. Chen-Hsin Chen Mathematics Institute of Statistical Sciences, Academia Sinica
Dr. Feng-Sheng Wang Engineering Department of Chemical Engineering, National Chung-Cheng University
Dr. Bor-Sen Chen Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing-Hua University
Dr. Jui-Jen Chou Engineering Department of Bio-industrial Mechatronics Engineering, National Taiwan University
Partner universities

There are 7 partner universities scattered in different part of Taiwan. These partner universities are the region centers to promote bioinformatics and systems biology. Most of them already have bioinformatics programs and are interested in setting up systems biology courses in their campus. Hopefully, many of these universities will set up systems biology related programs before the end of 2009. These universities include National Yang-Ming University (Taipei), National Taiwan University (Taipei), Chang Gung University (Tao-Yuan), National Ting-Hua University (Hsin-Chu), National Chiao-Tung University (Hsin-Chu), National Chung-Cheng University (Chia-Yi), and Natinoal Cheng-Kung University (Tai-Nan).

red-allow.gif Major activities 

At present, there are very little people who are familiar with systems biology. Therefore, the Bisys center has organized a distant learning course on systems biology for all partner universities. In this case, we may get the best teacher to offer a course together. In addition, each partner university will offer a set of summer courses for regional students, which may also show the uniqueness of each university. For example, some universities even offer summer intern program in both Taiwan and important institutions abroad. In terms of disciplines, National Yang-Ming University is more biomedical oriented, National Chung-Cheng University is more engineering oriented, etc.

The Bisys center has organized subcommittee to edit two books. One book will be focusing on systems biology. The other book will be the “Principles in Biology” for interdisciplinary students, so we may attract students from other fields. The center also organize international conference, symposium and workshops. For example, the center is involved with the organization of Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference from Feb. 13-16 in Taipei. This activities has brought 95 foreign scholors to Taiwan to interact with local faculty members and students. The center routinely organized the Bioinformatics in Taiwan (BIT) symposium and workshop in September every year, which will bring in new technology and topics in the field to Taiwan.