Structural bioinformatics, Intrinsically disordered proteins and Microbial biotechnology - these are the domains of three newly established ELIXIR Communities. Following the approval of the Communities' work plans by the ELIXIR Head of Nodes Committee, the three Communities are now starting their activities, working closely with other ELIXIR Communities and with ELIXIR Platforms.
With these three new Communities, there are now eleven ELIXIR Communities, covering a wide spectrum of life science domains with applications in health research, environment, agriculture or marine industry.
The domain of the ELIXIR 3D-BioInfo Community is structural bioinformatics, which studies the three-dimensional (3D) structure of proteins, RNA or DNA. The recent developments in experimental methods to determine these structures have led to rapid expansion of structural data. ELIXIR Nodes have already developed and operate a number of tools to analyse, predict, archive and validate these data, including three ELIXIR Core Data Resources: PDBe, CATH and InterPro.
The Community will focus on four areas: (1) Developing the infrastructure for FAIR structural and functional annotations, (2) Creating resources for sharing, integrating and benchmarking software tools for 3D modelling of the proteome, (3) Developing tools to describe, analyse, annotate, and predict nucleic acid structures, and (4) Developing models for protein-ligand interactions.
The Community is led by a group of seven senior scientists from six ELIXIR Nodes: Christine Orengo (ELIXIR UK), Bohdan Schneider (ELIXIR Czech Republic), Torsten Schwede (ELIXIR Switzerland), Joel Sussman (ELIXIR Israel), Janet Thornton (EMBL-EBI), Sameer Velankar (EMBL-EBI), and Shoshana Wodak (ELIXIR Belgium).
Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Community
The main goal of the Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs) Community is to support the development of standards, tools and resources to accelerate the identification, analysis and functional characterisation of IDPs.
IDPs - proteins that lack a stable secondary or tertiary structure or contain such regions - are thought to be involved in many human diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. A better understanding of the structure and function of IDPs will therefore help in developing new strategies to treat these diseases.
The Community is led by Norman Davey (ELIXIR UK), Zsuzsanna Dosztanyi (ELIXIR Hungary), and Silvio Tosatto (ELIXIR Italy).
Microbial Biotechnology Community
Microbial biotechnology designs and builds new strains of microbes that can produce chemical building blocks, food supplements, novel medicines and fuels to replace fossil fuels.
The ELIXIR Microbial Biotechnology Community will focus on developing advanced microbial genome-scale metabolic models to predict the effects of genetic manipulations on cellular phenotypes such as production of a specific compound or protein. It will also develop a FAIR repository of experimental data and a unified semantic ontology to represent data and knowledge in microbial biotechnology.
The Community will collaborate with the ELIXIR Training Platform and the ELIXIR TeSS Portal to coordinate training activities in the field and facilitate access to training materials.
The Community is led by Vincent Fromion (ELIXIR France) and Vitor Martins dos Santos (ELIXIR Netherlands).
About ELIXIR Communities
ELIXIR Communities bring together experts across ELIXIR Nodes and external partners to coordinate activities within specific life science domains. They work in close contact with the ELIXIR Platforms and develop resources, services and training tailored to the needs of researchers in each particular domain.
Each new Community receives funding in the form of an ELIXIR Implementation Study to establish links with other Communities and the ELIXIR Platforms. ELIXIR Communities can also apply for further funding through Community-led Implementation Studies, which are selected through regular Calls for proposals.
To find out more about the work of the Communities please see the individual Community pages or contact the ELIXIR Communities Coordinator, John Hancock (john.hancock [at] elixir-europe.org">john.hancock [at] elixir-europe.org).