New EMBL/CRG Research Unit for Systems Biology launched today

New EMBL partnership will advance the understanding of complex biological systems

Today the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Spanish Ministry for Education and Science (MEC) officially launch their new joint EMBL/CRG Research Unit in Systems Biology on the campus of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park. The Spanish Ministry for Education and Science will fund the new unit with 12.7 million Euros over the next nine years.

The EMBL/CRG Research Unit will be dedicated to systems biology, an emerging area of biomedicine that focuses on understanding and engineering complex biological systems. Its research will draw on the expertise of various scientific disciplines and will span the entire range from molecules to cells. The five multidisciplinary groups making up the unit will work with a variety of research techniques, including RNA interference, biochemical networks and mouse development. Head of the new unit will be Luis Serrano, who currently coordinates the EMBL Structural and Computational Biology Unit in Heidelberg. "Systems biology is the future of biomedicine," says Serrano, "and in this new partnership we will combine theoretical and experimental approaches to better understand some of the key aspects of human health."

"Merging EMBL's expertise in computational biology with the CRG's knowhow in specific areas of genomics and proteomics will allow us to tackle some of the most challenging questions of systems biology," says Iain Mattaj, Director General of EMBL. "The EMBL/CRG Research Unit complements EMBL's network of research partnerships and underlines our commitment to serving all our member states."

EMBL closely collaborates with leading research organizations in its 19 member states and already maintains four other partnerships; the Partnership for Structural Biology in Grenoble, France, the Partnership with DESY in Hamburg and the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit in Heidelberg, both in Germany, and the Partnership with the Sars Centre in Bergen, Norway.

"Joining forces with EMBL, Europe's leading institute in molecular biology, we will create a new centre of excellence for systems biology in Barcelona," says Miguel Beato, Director of the CRG, "and adopting EMBL's system of fostering young talents and regular staff turnover we will ensure a continuous flow of ideas."

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