Is the cure hiding in the computer?

Dr William Ritchie

Dr William Ritchie, Research Fellow and Group Head of Bioinformatics

Tonight Dr William Ritchie will tell some of Centenary’s biggest supporters about how fast computing is transforming research at the Institute.

He’s speaking at our 2012 Foundation dinner to a who’s who of Sydney’s business community.

He’ll tell them how a new generation of medical researchers: mathematicians, physicists and engineers are invading research laboratories. They’re hunting through the gigabytes of information produced in the lab and finding patterns: gene sequences connected with certain cancers for example; or DNA sequences that don’t seem to be doing anything. They’re even running virtual experiments – doing in seconds what would take months of laboratory work.

William is at the forefront of this revolution at Centenary Institute. He’s a Research Fellow and the first Group Head of our Bioinformatics program.

Biologists have always struggled to analyse the complexity of life. But the problem got bigger with the human genome project. Under the guidance of biologists, thousands of robots read the whole human genome and supercomputers crunched the data to reveal the three billion or so letters in our genetic code, and the 32,000 or so genes that define a human being.

Today practically every laboratory at Centenary is generating gigabytes of data. And William’s job is to find the useful information in the data.