Antoine van Oijen
University of Wollongong
The molecular life sciences represent the foundation of medical discovery. Using approaches that aim to understand how the molecules of life work and how their malfunction can cause disease lies at the heart of drug discovery and diagnostics development. The molecular life sciences have gone through revolutionary changes during the last decade with the development of techniques that directly visualise disease processes at the molecular level.
With our new institute Molecular Horizons, the University of Wollongong is establishing a research ecosystem that aims to bring together scientists from biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine to use molecular visualisation approaches as a key driver for medical discovery. By combining cutting- edge molecular visualisation technology with high-performance computational approaches, by establishing multidisciplinary teams of researchers, and by fully integrating the molecular life sciences research into the University’s teaching programs, the institute aims to deliver research and teaching outcomes with a broad impact on our community.
I will discuss how the development of a fully integrated molecular life sciences precinct becomes a framework for cutting-edge medical discovery and its integration with university teaching through multi-disciplinary educational structures (at the undergraduate and postgraduate level). I will discuss the daunting computing and data processing, management and visualisation challenges that molecular visualisation approaches bring with them and how these play a role in our molecular life-sciences teaching programs. With the bringing together of the different scientific disciplines and with the integration of big-data approaches, a unique opportunity represents itself to establish the structures that will help us train the next generation of highly skilled graduates with the breadth of experience needed to tackle the challenges of the 21st-century society.