SIB’s mission, as per its mandate from the Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI, is to be a provider of long-term, high-impact infrastructure for the life sciences and the biomedical world. Its teams thus develop national secure platforms such as the Swiss SARS-CoV-2 Data hub and BioMedIT, diagnostic tools such as Oncobench, as well as leading open science databases and software tools supporting the needs of life scientists around the world. Among these are ASAP, Cellosaurus, Glyco@Expasy, and Nextstrain. Discover these newest additions to the toolbox to explore biological data, from single-cell molecular insights to vaccine development and real-time pathogen tracking.

Democratizing single-cell analysis

Single-cell technologies have revolutionized how human diseases are studied, by enabling the study of gene expression at the level of individual cells. ASAP is a collaborative web portal aimed at democratizing single-cell data analyses for researchers. It contributes both to the bioinformatic and wet-lab communities, enabling them to work closely together through real-time data sharing and visualization. It allows analyses to run in minutes without requiring significant computing power, and thus is also suited to labs that do not benefit from massive computing capacities.

Everything about cell lines

The Cellosaurus is an expertly curated database of cell lines, i.e. cultures of human and animal cells that can be grown for prolonged periods in vitro, and used in wet lab research. Depending on their research questions, scientists need to know what cell lines to use and where to find them: this is the sort of information they will find in the Cellosaurus. Cell lines are essential for instance to study vaccine production, drug metabolism, gene function, or even artificial skin generation. Cellosaurus is an ELIXIR Core Data Resource and an International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) recognized resource.

Glycoinformatics resources for all

Sugar molecules coat most of our cells and as such play a role for instance, in vaccine resistance. As they decorate the surface of proteins, their characterisation can also support the detection of non-native erythropoietin (EPO) in athletes, i.e. doping. The in silico study of these sugars, i.e. the field of glycoinformatics, can reveal key insights into human health. Glyco@Expasy provides a unique and didactic overview of the field. It spans a broad range of glycoinformatics resources, including in-house user-friendly tools accessible at large to medical researchers, independent of their training level in glycoscience.

Real-time tracking of pathogen evolution

Nextstrain enables real-time tracking of pathogens (e.g. SARS-CoV-2, influenza, ebola), by providing continually-updated view of publicly available genome data together with powerful analytic and visualization tools. In the context of the current pandemic, Nextstrain’s insights have become a central element of the molecular epidemiology response to the pandemic. Indeed, public health laboratories around the world using the resource to understand how COVID-19 cases in their communities are connected to genomes sampled elsewhere on the planet.

More on Expasy, the portal of all databases and software tools developed by SIB Groups.