In the domain of life sciences, proteomics are widely used in combination with (epi)genomics and other protein science technologies in neurodegeneration, infection and inflammation, which are frontline research domains of the University of Antwerp. A unique flash photolysis set-up is available which allows to determine ligand binding kinetics. Specific protein (signaling) functions can be analyzed using different expression- and interaction studies of recombinant proteins in vitro/in vivo. For epigenomics studies, new chromatin-proteomic approaches (posttranslational histon/cofactor modifications) and new DNA-methylation detection methods (pyrosequencing, MALDI, AIMS, RLGS, MSPA, bisulfite sequencing) are applied.
The UA-VITO Center for Proteomics (CFP) is an integrated facility which was recently set up by the University of Antwerp in cooperation with VITO, combining expertise in mass spectrometry, proteome analysis and bioinformatics to integrate data derived from complex protein mixtures into systems biology. The services offered range from structure elucidation up to quantification, from small molecules up to large polymers and proteins, from very clean to very complex mixtures. It offers access to different sample preparation tools, electrophoretic systems, analytical HPLC systems, mass spectrometers and a variety of data analysis and management systems.
At the University of Antwerp, 2 extensive platforms for next generation sequencing technologies are used in various research domains, such as the detection and characterization of disease-causing genes in neurodegenerative, infectious and rare inherited diseases, the discovery of susceptibility loci in complex (infectious) disorders, the de novo assembly of lower eukaryotic genomes, the detection of new biological markers for oncology, the genome-wide profiling of epigenetic marks reflecting environmental stressors and metagenomics studies.
These ‘omics’ approaches have led to a vast increase in the amount of data, requiring adequate (bio)technology and bioinformatics tools. Several research groups are involved in the development of integrated workflows that allow both the set-up, performance and interpretation of high-throughput experiments. Additionally, innovative data mining techniques and software allow systematic screening of databases and dedicated data analysis.
Biomina (Biomedical Informatics Expertise Centre Antwerpen) is an interdisciplinary research collaboration between UA and UZA. It aims at the development of innovative techniques for the analysis and interpretation of heterogeneous biomedical data. Biomina operates on the integration point of clinical data and ”omics” data (genome, proteome, transcriptome, ...), with structuring, integration and analysis of these data as the core activity.