News / 15 June 2020

EMBL Australia group leader Professor David Lynn will be the interim director of a new $7 million state-of-the-art centre for genomics in South Australia that he played a vital role in championing.

The South Australian Genomics Centre (SAGC) will open on 1 July, after more than a year of planning and millions of dollars in funding, including $2 million from Bioplatforms Australia (BPA) through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

The state-wide collaboration comprises six founding partners – the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Flinders University, the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and the Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) – who are collectively investing funding, equipment and staff totalling more than $5.6 million.

Prof Lynn, who is also a Program Director at SAHMRI and Flinders University Professor, advocated for the state-wide collaboration, along with the General Manager of Adelaide BioMed City, Yvette Van Eenennaam.

He will be the SAGC’s interim Scientific Director until a permanent Scientific Director and Centre Manager are appointed.

"This is a major new collaborative initiative to support genomics and bioinformatics research in South Australia across all disciplines, from environmental, plant and agricultural research to human health,” Prof Lynn said.

Genomics is the study of an organism’s genome – the complete set of genes that make up that animal, plant or microbe – as well as how genes are turned on and off and how they interact with each other and their environment.

Genomics generates a remarkable amount of data. Bioinformatics is the science of storing, processing and analysing that data, and also spans comparative, evolutionary and systems biology analyses.

A person’s genome plays a vital role in their health, risk of disease and how they respond to treatment – and the accumulation of this information will enable greater understanding of all aspects of health and disease.

Prof Lynn says the SAGC will see South Australia build on its solid foundations of genomics and bioinformatics science.

“These fields are now critical tools in biology and medicine,” he said.

“By consolidating our expertise and resources we are positioning South Australia as a leader in complex biology with a centre that will serve research teams locally, nationally and internationally.”

He said the SAGC – which will be based at SAHMRI and operating from various sites – will also generate more opportunities for local researchers to collaborate with colleagues around Australia and the world.

Several new genomics and bioinformatics positions to be based at the SAGC will be advertised in the near future.

You can read more about Prof David Lynn's research here.