BIOINFORMATICS CENTRE WAS AWARDED MORE THAN $ 220 MILLION (US$340 000)

IT WILL BE USED TO ACQUIRE NEW EQUIPMENT FOR RESEARCH, AND IT WILL BECOME ONE OF THE MOST COMPLETE AND STATE-OF-THE-ART COMPUTING CENTERS.



October 3, 2016

Research that help to find ways to fight diseases, improve plantations or find alternatives so certain plants are better prepared for climate change are some of the studies carried out at the Bioinformatics and Molecular Simulation Center (CBSM) from the Department of Engineering of the Universidad de Talca, placing them as one of the main entities in this area in Chile.

This, together with a number of national and international research projects run by the scientists of the Center, the CBSM applied for a Conicyt’s Fondequip 2016 Contest fund. Thus, it obtained funding of more than 220 million pesos (US$ 340 000), added to the 40 million (US$ 60 000) invested by the University, to renew one of its computing clusters that permits them to perform some of their molecular simulations.

"We will renew the computing capacities of the Center and all the technology needs to be updated, thus improving the time scales on which molecular simulations are made. Due to the high amount of information we process we need equipment that will allow us to do certain complex, large size calculations ", said the Director of the CBSM, Wendy González, who, together with professors Julio Caballero and Jans Alzate, presented the proposal to the Conicyt."

The academic explained that they expect this new computing equipment to reproduce more realistically the protein movements and the biological phenomena that occur in them in a given time, since the capacity will increase 10 times. This is due to the fact that the cluster of computers is based on graphic processing units technology (GPU), used in the international centers, improving the computing performance.

"So far we could only simulate nanosecond time scales, and with the equipment that we will now have, it will be possible to analyze biological phenomena in microseconds time scales, i.e. thousand times larger in time scale, which means to see more real phenomena," he said.

Gonzalez explained that these new equipment not only will be used by the Center, but it will also benefit scientists from other areas at the same University, who develop joint research with the CBSM. It is the case of the Institute of Biological Sciences, the Depatrtment of Health Sciences and the Natural Resources Chemistry Institute, working in genomics and quantum chemistry, among others, as well as external institutions like the Universidad de Antofagasta or Austral de Chile, to which it is associated.

The Dean of the Department of Engineering, Claudio Tenreiro, stressed the importance of this new project awarded to the Center. "The area of Bioinformatics and molecular simulation in our University is much consolidated and it has an important number of researchers who work at an excellent international level. We believe this will position the Center with more force in the scientific world environment ", he said.



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