SIB along the years

  1. Birth of Swiss-Prot

    Amos Bairoch, then a PhD student at the University of Geneva, creates what has since become the world reference resource for protein knowledge, UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot. At that time, the various versions are distributed on magnetic tapes!

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  2. Creation of the first life science web portal

    To exchange information within the community, Ron Appel launches the first life science server, which counts among the 150 first websites in the world. It is accessed 7,295 times even during its first month of existence, and over 2 million times per month a few years later.

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  3. A funding crisis leading to SIB's creation in 1998

    The Swiss-Prot knowledgebase, which by then has around 100,000 users, is threatened with extinction due to a lack of financial support. Thousands of support messages from the international scientific community flow in. As a result, the Swiss authorities recommend that a stable long-term funding mechanism be sought to ensure the survival of Swiss-Prot and bioinformatics, in the form of a publicly funded foundation.

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  4. Creation of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

    A team of visionary Swiss scientists (Ron Appel, Amos Bairoch, Philipp Bucher, Victor Jongeneel and Manuel Peitsch) unite to create one sole bioinformatics organization. It includes five founding groups from the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne, the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Institut Suisse de Recherche Expérimentale sur le Cancer (ISREC) and Glaxo Wellcome Experimental Research.

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  5. Launch of Protein Spotlight

    The online popular science magazine, launched by SIB’s Swiss-Prot Group and written by Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen, science writer, tells the tale of one protein each month.

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  6. Creation of the UniProt consortium

    SIB, the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Georgetown University’s Protein Information Resource (PIR) unite to jointly maintain and develop the most widely used protein information resource in the world, which includes the Swiss-Prot database.

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  7. Creation of the first bioinformatics core facility

    Launch of the high-performance computing centre Vital-IT by SIB, the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne as well as EPFL, in cooperation with Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation and Oracle.

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  8. First [BC]2 conference 'Life sciences meet IT'

    SIB, the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute launch the first Basel Computational Biology conference, to foster collaborations between academic, biomedical and pharmaceutical research institutes and to share knowledge, resources and services in the field of computational biology and bioinformatics.

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  9. SIB's 10th anniversary

    To mark the occasion, SIB produced a film tracing 10 years of Swiss bioinformatics, presenting the Institute as well as the latest advances of its service and research groups.

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  10. Creation of the Clinical Bioinformatics Group

    The group aims at providing health professionals with expertise and support for the organization, analysis and interpretation of patient molecular data, so that they may be used for diagnostic purpose.

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  11. A non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test

    Vital-IT develops the algorithms behind a test that allows the detection of chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus from the mother’s blood - the test is the first of its kind in Europe.

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  12. ChromosomeWalk, the website

    A virtual, award-winning online exhibition introducing the human genome and bioinformatics to the public.

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  13. Creation of the SIB Training Group

    The group integrates and harmonizes existing initiatives, and provides a more comprehensive and complete training portfolio. From this moment on, over 50 courses are organized per year.

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  14. Launch of a cancer diagnostic platform

    The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and SIB develop OncoBenchTM, a sample-to-report tool used by HUG for faster routine cancer diagnosis.

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  15. Launch of the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) initiative

    SIB plays a pivotal role as Data Coordination Centre (DCC) and as the provider of a secure infrastructure for biomedical research in Switzerland (BioMedIT).

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  16. 20 years of SIB

    A year of festivities and projects supported by many sponsors to celebrate 20 years of commitment to life sciences and health (see Celebration highlights section below).

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A brief history of SIB

Dive into the Institute’s history and its remarkable growth, from the early days to a mature national infrastructure and diverse community of 800 scientists in 2018, leading research and providing in-depth bioinformatics expertise to the life science and clinical community.

A steady increase of the bioinformatics community

SIB community

SIB Members, Groups and Employees over the years.

SIB publications over time

SIB publications

Number of publications with an SIB (co-)author since 1998.