To combine a meeting in Bioinformatics and a short Symposium about Post-Genome research in a EuroConference entitled "Bioinformatics and Comparative Functional Genomics" is quite interesting from a scientific point of view and quite timely for European research in genetics and for European biotechnology industry. Bioinformatics provides the key to the interpretation and exploration of massive amounts of data stemming from the Human Genome project.
It requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort to cope with the needs of the present and future genome based research. While at present bioinformaticians represent an indispensable human resource for biomedical research, whose training has to be strongly promoted in Europe, at the same time biologists, biochemists and physicians must learn to apply bioinformatics as a problem-solving tool. The data generated by high-throughput experiments will constitute a special challenge in this respect.
Methods in bioinformatics must be adapted in order to interpret data in the context of the available knowledge. On the other side research activities on model organisms (or comparative genomics) will have to be combined with the methodology available to applied and theoretical bioinformatics. New forms of training have therefore to be established in order to raise the next generation of researchers in bioinformatics on one side and promote the diffusion of bioinformatic expertise among young researchers in biology and medicine on the other.
Starting this year the new venue of the European School of Genetic Medicine, La Nunziata Centre, in Sestri Levante will be characterized by the availability of a well-equipped multimedia laboratory. During the proposed EuroConference this laboratory will therefore be used extensively for workshops. In addition over the next few years this multimedia laboratory in Sestri Levante can become a tool by which expertise in bioinformatics can be transferred from the highly specialized scientific community of bioinformaticians to the routine users, namely clinical geneticists and molecular geneticists. This can be therefore the first of a series of events in the field.