In this blog-interview series, we present the Radboudumc Technology Centers (RTCs) – your gateway to technological expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and invaluable resources. In each part we spotlight one of the 19 RTCs housed within our organization.
Today, we're joined by Sander Bervoets, he is the coordinator at RTC Bioinformatics. His expertise in bioinformatics aligns with his current focus on the organizational elements within their RTC.
Sander, it's great to have you here. Bioinformatics is quite multidisciplinary, isn't it?
“Definitely! It's a field that brings together expertise from biology, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and biochemistry to process and analyze vast amounts of biological data using computational methodologies.”
Fascinating! So, what kind of support does RTC Bioinformatics offer?
“We primarily provide support for the data aspect of a study, particularly after datasets are created during experimentation. Our focus is mostly on genomics and sequencing data, dealing with gene expression, signaling pathways, DNA mutations, and Single Cell identification. We're open to looking at other dataset types too. We also assist in writing grant applications involving bioinformatics work and planning lab experiments, as they significantly impact the data analysis afterward.
We also help with data analysis questions and problems that researchers have, to connect them to the right experts and get them moving along. We regularly organize “Meet the Expert” sessions to get into contact with scientists that want to apply complex analysis. Next to bioinformatics and R, we are Linux, Docker/Singularity and HPC users and can provide some assistance there.”
Impressive support, diverse expertise, and easy accessibility. Fantastic! And how do you process these datasets?
“We utilize a range of open-source scientific tools and software, operating them on our department's High-Performance Computing (HPC) cluster. Once processed, we perform statistical analysis using R and Python on gene expression and mutations, presenting outcomes in graphs and tables for publication by our collaborators.”
That's quite comprehensive. How can researchers access your support?
“If researchers have a substantial dataset and lack a programming or bioinformatics background, they can reach out to us via email or chat on Teams. Our website, Bioinformatics - Radboudumc, is a good starting point. We're situated in the Research Tower (‘Researchtoren’), 6th floor, route 283.”
And what's the process for working with your team?
“For projects where we actively participate, we start with an intake, discussing study details. Subsequently, we either allocate work hours in the grant proposal or establish a plan with a quotation. We're open to collaborations and have had ‘embedded’ bioinformaticians in various departments. Additionally, we've designed user-friendly tools for researchers to handle some of the work themselves.”
That sounds very convenient to me. How about researchers with limited resources?
“Even with restricted resources, we're eager to assist. Enabling outstanding and complex research is at the heart of what we do at Radboudumc. Our extensive network of experts across departments and RTCs allows us to provide support to all of our researchers. We are always available for a short call or chat!”
Appreciate your insights into the essential work of RTC Bioinformatics, Sander. Your explanations have certainly underlined the pivotal role this domain plays in empowering scientific research.
“It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.”
Figure: Research Tower
Interview by Hasan Erkan
Editor Radboudumc Research Newsletter
You can find all editions of our blog series on this page
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