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Matthew Bellgard

MATTHEW Bellgard’s long-term vision for an internationally competitive bioinformatics capability for all life science researchers came to fruition recently with the development of the WA State Government Centre of Excellence for Comparative Genomics. Professor Bellgard was instrumental in the formation of WACOE, as he was with the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biological Computing (CBBC), the leading international research and development centre of which he is a director. CBBC specialises in the use of information technology to foster understanding of biological systems and evolution. Professor Bellgard’s fields of expertise include comparative geno-mic analysis, computational biology, molecular evolution, bioinformatics and integrated system development. Diversification in attracting government and industry funding of $12.7 million has been key to the success of CBBC. Among the work Professor Bellgard directs are projects to: improve efficiencies for plant breeding that will ultimately reduce the 12-year timeline to develop a new high quality cereal or legume variety by half; assist nutritionists producing new foods based on grain chemical composition; develop vaccines against pathogenic bacteria and the cattle tick; and achieve truth in labeling of fish species for human consumption. One of WACOE’s proposed projects is to define a particular region of the human genome that will lead to improved bone marrow transportation. The project has an estimated annual market of $10 million.

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