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IOR

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A startup to manage the 'Big data' of genetics

From left to right: Axel Martinelli, Murodzhon Akhmedov, Ivo Kwee and Gabriela Scorici
From left to right: Axel Martinelli, Murodzhon Akhmedov, Ivo Kwee and Gabriela Scorici

Institutional Communication Service

Genomics, the study of all the genetic material in organisms, is the new frontline of Big Data, poised to surpass in the amount of data to be stored and analysed other disciplines such as astronomy and particle physics, according to a study published in 2015 in PLOS Biology. The problem is that research groups working on genomics do not always dispose of bioinformaticians, professionals who are knowledgeable in both informatics and biology.

Here comes BigOmics Analytics, a startup born within the USI-affiliated Institute of Oncology Research (IOR). The co-founder and technical director is Ivo Kwee, who landed at IOR after a post-doc at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (USI SUPSI). A former student of his, Murodzhon Akhmedov, is also involved in the project.

BigOmics aims to provide researchers with easy-to-use computing tools. "In one day, we can provide 80 per cent of the information specialists need to make their assessments. Without platforms like ours, it would take them months to achieve the same results," explained Kwee in an interview with Michela Perrone for the TicinoScienza website.

BigOmics has received support from the USI Startup Centre and in its growth path has managed to raise significant funding and form a full team; it is now aiming to boost the business side to reach more customers.