BioBit No 14 (ICGEB)

harper at harper at
Fri Mar 2 12:45:34 EST 1990

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                               No 14
                     << EDITED BY ROBERT HARPER >>

   I am still working on BioBit's for ANU NEWS and PORTACOM. In the mean 
   time here is some interesting information regarding the International
   Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) which is based
   in Trieste Italy.

   So how was this edition of BioBit put together? Well it was your basic
   shotgun interview... I posted "loaded" questions to Mark Vandeyar who runs
   the computer operation at ICGEB, and he came up with the answers.
   Briefly this edition of BioBit deals with the history of ICGEB, and how it
   has developed. Additionally it gives some information on the the hardware
   they have, and also gives an outline of the courses that ICGEB sponsors
   If you have any questions about ICGEB then please direct them to Mark.
   His BITNET/EARN address is at the bottom of this message.

   The lowdown on GOS is also in the pipeline so it should be coming up
   pretty soon ( Don't you just hate acronyms when you do not know what 
   they stand for ED.)

   Anyway I find it interesting to know what is happening in different 
   parts of the world. So if you have some "big text" that you think might
   make up an edition of BioBit then do not hesitate to send it to me at
   HARPER at FINFUN.BITNET, or if you have some subject that you would like
   to see covered then drop me a note, and I will see what I can put 
   together. One final footnote... BIONAUTS will be established real 
   soon, and now for ICGEB........

               %              I C G E B                %

   In 1981 the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
   (UNIDO) convened a panel of distinguished scientists to consider the
   issue of transfering biotechnology know-how to the developing world. 
   The result was a proposal to establish the International Centre for
   Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) as a centre of
   excellence which would provide a forum for scientists from both the
   developed and developing world and an environment conducive to
   research of an international standard. In 1982 the concept was
   approved by a ministerial-level conference of developed and
   developing nations and the first steps to establish the Centre were
   taken in 1983 when the Statutes of ICGEB were signed by 26 countries.
   To-date, 41 countries have signed the Statutes.
   A Panel of Scientific Advisors together with the Preparatory
   Committee, consisting of representatives from ICGEB Member Countries,
   have guided the establishment and subsequent development of ICGEB
   under the aegis of UNIDO. Several countries, from the developed and
   developing world, made offers to host the Centre.  The joint proposal
   of Italy and India was finally chosen as being the most generous and
   appropriate to achieve the Centre's objectives.
   In order to initiate the establishment of ICGEB, the Preparatory
   Committee launched an interim programme that ran over a three-year
   period from 1986 to 1989.  During this period, under the supervision
   of the first Director, Prof. I. C. Gunsalus,  ICGEB established two
   component laboratories, one in Trieste (Italy) and the other in New
   Delhi (India).  In July 1989, under the leadership of the new
   director, Prof. Arturo Falaschi, a Five Year Programme with a budget
   of US$56,000,000 was initiated to allow for the continued development
   of the Centre's facilities and the recruitment of staff over the
   period, 1989 to 1994.
   The Trieste component is located in the scientific park of the
   Trieste Research Area.  Presently, the ICGEB Trieste laboratories are
   housed in 1,000 m2, but is being augmented by the construction of new
   facilities, bringing the total area of occupancy to over 6,000 m2 by
   1991.  The New Delhi component currently occupies interim facilities
   of approximately, 1,200 m2 at the National Institute of Immunology,
   pending completion of permanent facilities of 10,000 m2.  The capital
   and operating costs of the two components are borne by the
   governments of Italy and India.
   In keeping with the aims of ICGEB and through a process of
   consultation involving the Preparatory Committee, the Panel of
   Scientific Advisors, and scientists from the Member Countries, the
   following research groups were established:
   A.   ICGEB, Trieste
   1.   Virology, Molecular and Cellular Biology 
   2.   Immunology 
   3.   Pharmacology 
   4.   Protein Structure and Function 
   5.   Microbiology
   B.   ICGEB, New Delhi
   1.   Plant Biology 
   2.   Human Parasitology and Virology 
   3.   Structural Biology
   Each group is headed by a senior scientist and is composed of two to
   three junior scientist, plus a number of trainee fellows (selected
   from Member Countries) and technicians.
   In addition to its two component sites, ICGEB is associated with 13
   Affiliated Centres in Member Countries.  These are established
   research institutes which have attained a demonstrably high standard
   of research, and have entered into a special research and training
   relationship with ICGEB. As part of this relationship, each
   Affiliated Centre may submit research proposals for funding under the
   ICGEB Collaborative Research Programme.  ICGEB awards research grants
   to a level of US$105,000 over a period of three years.  These grants
   provide up to US$35,000 per annum for the purchases of expendable
   laboratory supplies and small items of equipment, as well as for
   transportation of personnel between collaborating laboratories.
   The mission of ICGEB also includes the strengthening of the research
   capabilities of its 41 Member Countries through training activities
   and services.
   The scientific training consists of long and short term programmes. 
   The long-term programme involves post-doctoral fellowships that are
   tenable at either the Trieste or New Delhi components.  ICGEB also
   offers post-doctoral training in conjunction with various Italian
   Institutes of higher education.  A pre-doctoral training programme in
   Trieste and New Delhi, in conjunction with local universities, is at
   an advanced stage of planning.
   The short-term training focuses on specialized topics and techniques. 
   This is achieved through workshops, practical courses and meetings. 
   An example of a short-term training course is the "Practical Course
   Computer Applications in Molecular Biology" organized by Prof. Doug
   Brutlag, held in Trieste.  The 1990 short-term training programme is
   In addition to the research and training programmes, ICGEB also
   provides a wide range of service to its Member Countries.  The ICGEB
   Computer Resource for Molecular Biology (ICGEBnet) is one of these
   Computer networks play a major role in biotechnology; active
   researchers increasingly need to access remote databases, to
   retrieve, submit and share data, and to access central
   high-performance computing facilities. Since there will never be
   enough high-performance computers to go around, the role of the
   computer network becomes even more important as they provide access
   to the facilities that the majority of institutions need, but
   otherwise cannot afford.
   In addition, scientific research has always relied on communication
   for gathering and exchanging data, for holding discussions and for
   collaborating with widely dispersed researchers.  The pace and
   complexity of modern molecular biology, especially the collaboration
   of researchers in different countries has dramatically increased the
   scientist's communications needs.
   Computer networks provide the base that can combine dispersed
   researchers, computing sources, and information into a single
   integrated computer and communications environment. Thus, to sustain
   and enhance scientific progress within the ICGEB community, the
   ICGEBnet Computer Resource is being established.
   ICGEBnet will establish a central interactive, timesharing computer
   facility based on a SUN UNIX  4/390 SPARCserver. The initial system
   configuration will contain 32 MBytes of RAM and 1 GByte of mass
   storage disk space.
   In addition to the SUN 4/390, ICGEB will also share with the
   International Centre for Chemistry (ICC), the use of a high
   performance Silicon Graphics 4D/210 GTX modelling workstation.
   The principal mechanism for remote access to the ICGEBnet resource
   will be via the Public Data Networks (PDNs). ICGEBnet will be
   connected to the ITAPAC X.25 network via a leased data communication
   line allowing for 16 simultaneous in-coming connections.  For those
   users who do not have access to an X.25 PDN, ICGEB will be provided
   access via direct dial telephone modems connected  to the ICGEBnet
   In addition to the above connections, ICGEBnet will also be connected
   to other wide-area networks, such as EARN (Bitnet) and the TCP/IP
   based Internet.  These connections will provide users of ICGEBnet
   with access to electronic mail, file transfer and electronic bulletin
   board facilities and the ability to access remote computers on the
   Internet.  The Internet connection will be especially valuable for
   connecting ICGEBnet to the GenBank and EMBL computer facilities. 
   These services will be required for receiving daily updates of the
   sequence databases.
   ICGEBnet will provide access to the Intelligenetics Suite, an
   integrated package of molecular biology programmes, supplying all the
   major functions for sequence analysis including: sequence entry and
   editing, DNA gel fragment assembly, sequencing project management,
   protein and nucleic acid sequence analyses, similarity searching,
   pattern recognition searching, restriction mapping and cloning
   For the modelling of protein structures the INSIGHT and DISCOVER
   packages will be  available for  use with the ICGEB/ICC Silicon
   Graphics computer.
   Since the majority of  the ICGEBnet users will have access to
   personal computers,  they will also be seeking methods to use their
   personal computers to effectively access ICGEBnet.  ICGEBnet will
   strongly support this method of access by  providing an on-line
   library of software and documentation, for file transfer and terminal
   emulation programmes.
   In addition, several molecular biology programmes for both the
   Macintosh and the IBM PC will be available from the on-line library. 
   These programmes will allow users to perform many routine analyses on
   their local personal computers, including the preparation of  their
   data for the more extensive analyses available at ICGEBnet.   We will
   also encourage users to submit programmes developed within the ICGEB
   community for distribution on ICGEBnet.
   The plans for the implementation of ICGEBnet are  well underway.  The
   necessary equipment has been ordered and is expected to be installed
   and operational by  the beginning of April 1990.
   Development through international co-operation offers an important
   mechanism through which to realize the benefits of biotechnology. 
   ICGEB together with its research, training and service components is
   making a progressive and comprehensive contribution to the
   strengthening of the scientific and technological capabilities of its
   Member Countries.


   Further information on ICGEB can be obtained from the following
   Office of the Director 
   ICGEB Padriciano 99 
   Trieste 34012 
   Tel:      +39 40 226031
   Fax:      +39 40 226555
   Telex:    460396 ICGEBT I

   New Delhi, India, 14-17 February 
   John Bennett, ICGEB (co-sponsored:Rockefeller Foundation
   Australian International Development Assistance Bureau)
   Theoretical Course:BACTERIAL GENETICS
   Trieste, Italy, 23-29 March
   Thomas J. Silhavy, Princeton
   New Delhi, India, 26 March-17 April
   Hartmut Seliger, Ulm
   Trieste, Italy, 9-13 April
   Glauco Tocchini-Valentini, Rome
   Heraklion, Greece, 22-24 May
   Joseph Papamatheakis, Heraklion
   Caracas, Venezuela, 19 June-16 July
   Hilda A. Perez, Caracas
   Santiago, Chile, 10-30 June
   Juan Olate & Omar Orellana, Santiago
                        PRACTICAL UTILIZATION
   Trieste, Italy, 26-28 June
   Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Tel Aviv
   Trieste, Italy, 16-27 July
   Douglas Brutlag, Stanford
   Beijing, China, 5-7 November
   Robert Bergquist, Geneva
   (Joint with WHO/TDR)
   Theoretical Course: MOLECULAR VIROLOGY
   Trieste, Italy, 4-11 November
   Paolo Amati, Rome
   New Delhi, Italy, 5-30 November
   Fred A.S. Kironde, ICGEB

   Information: c/o Ms. Diana Viti, ICGEB, Padriciano 99,
   I-34012, Trieste, Italy.
   Telephone +39 40 2260333, 
   Telex 460396 ICGEBT I, 
   Fax +39 40 226555

CONTACT PERSON ( ICGEB Computer resource )
Mark A. Vandeyar                          E-mail: LR4TS1H3 at ICINECA2.BITNET
International Centre for
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Padriciano 99                             Tel:    +39-40-2260332
Trieste, I-34012, Italy                   Fax:    +39-40-226555

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