|Poona University was established in 1949. It has very active Departments of Biotechnology, Zoology, Botany, Bioinformatics, Microbiology, School of Health Sciences, sections of Biophysics (Physics), and Biochemistry (Chemistry). The teachers of these departments and large number of research students work in various areas of Life Sciences and Biotechnology. The University has close interactions with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and other National Institutes. This is one of the first Indian Universities which has established fibre optics network to connect every teaching department by laying 7.5 km. fibre optics cable on the campus. Along with Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) the University has developed an excellent Internet linkage with 2 Mbps, ERNET connectivity.|
The Bioinformatics Centre at the University of Poona, Pune, was established in 1987 as one of the nine Distributed Information Centres under the programme Biotechnology Information System (BTIS), to provide an updated and an accurate information in the area of Biotechnology with stress on virology, proteins and nucleic acid sequences and structures, microbial strain data and also to provide an access to the information in other related areas through computer networks. In September, 1993, the centre moved into its newly constructed premises on the Campus where it is now equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities in terms of hardware, software, networks, etc.
The hardware includes DEC Alpha, Sun Sparc5, Silicon Graphics Indigo Solid Impact 10000, IRIS Crimson Elan, Pentium Pcs, Multimedia workstations, Pcs and LAN. All the computers are connected to each other and to a fibre optics network of the University using thin ethernet connectivity. This centre was among the first institutes in India to have its own Home page on the World Wide Web (WWW) which is accessed by a number of users world-wide. The Home page address is http://bioinfo.ernet.in
In recounting the span of 10 years, this relatively young centre developed a number of databanks which are updated regularly. The prime databank, “Animal Virus Information System” (AVIS), is one of the world's largest databanks in the area of Animal Viruses and is available on the Internet (http://bioinfo.ernet.in/www/avis/avis.html). AVIS can also be accessed from web servers located in Brazil (http://www.ftpt.br/cgi-bin/msdn/avis), Japan(http://www.wdcm.riken.go.jp/htbin/MSDN/AVIS.pl), and Singapore (olympus.bic.nus.edu.sg/~kolaskar/avis.html). At present AVIS has alphanumeric and pictorial data of 1,324 different viruses. Apart from the alphanumeric data on viruses, information from databanks such as the hybridoma, cell lines, sequence information from the EMBL and NBRF-PIR is also available in the computer readable format. The software includes the on-line probablilistic identification of the viruses. Today, AVIS is identified as a Major Virological Server. Other databanks developed in-house and are found useful by the scientific community are: Data Bank on Physical Maps of Organisms, Nucleic Acid Structural Database and Management System, Database of Agricultural Pests of India, Drug Database, Protein Secondary Structure Databank, Directory of Scientific Databanks in Science and Technology in India. The Home page provides links to all the databanks.
The Centre has developed new methods and software to analyse Protein and Nucleic acids and sequence and structure data. The software programs PRAS (multiple alignment), PNAS (sequence analysis) and MG (molecular visualisation) are developed in collaboration with C-DAC and are now marketed. The AMBER molecular dynamics software package is parallelized and optimised to run on PARAM and can be accessed through metacomputing web server on PARAM Open Frame. Similarly CHARMM is also ported on the PARAM system. This is a unique facility for our country which is developed along with C-DAC. The multimedia teaching aid package produced by the centre not only won the LIFE 2000 award but is ranked as extremely useful teaching aid by the students and teachers.
This Centre specialises in giving training to individuals and groups. The training is given at two levels: the short term orientation programmes/workshops and long-term one-year Advanced Diploma Course in Bioinformatics. The centre has so far conducted several workshops/training programmes/conferences and has trained more than 600 scientists from India and abroad. Orientation Programmes in Bioinformatics are conducted exclusively for the students of the University of Poona. Today, Bioinformatics Centre of the University of Poona is considered as one among the best Bioinformatics Centres in the world.
CONTACT FOR DETAILS
A. S. Kolaskar and