Founded in 2003, Beijing Institute of Genomics (BIG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is located in the Olympic Science and Technology Park since 2013. The current director is Professor XUE Yongbiao.
Since its establishment, BIG has accomplished several major research projects with remarkable success, especially the Chinese Superhybrid Rice Genome Project. The institute also actively participated in the Human Genome Project (HGP) and HapMap Project. Currently, BIG is leading several prestigious national research programs such as “polygenic mechanisms of microevolution” and “the CAS Precision Medicine Initiative”. In the past several years, BIG has achieved a series of major breakthroughs in the field of tumor microevolution, epigenetic inheritance, precision medicine and database construction.
BIG has also developed many gene analysis tools with proprietary intellectual property rights significantly improved the bioinformatic computing capability, and developed new computation theory, software, algorithms, and data storage methods. Up till now, more than 1000 articles have been published in SCI-indexed journals, including high-profile journals like Nature, Science, Cell and Nature Genetics.
To meet the national strategic demand of China on population health and sustainable development, as well as the forefront of life sciences, BIG puts its primary focus on the study of genomic structure, variation, functioning, and evolution; boosts the integration among genomics and other relevant subjects; and develops new theories, technologies, and methodologies of the genomics, aiming to establish BIG as one of the top centers for genomics study in the world.
BIG has established “CAS Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences & Information”, “CAS Key Laboratory of Genomic and Precision Medicine”, and “Big Data Center” (BIGD), as well as a state-of-the-art Core Genomic Facility, together with public safety, which helps perfect the scientific layout and organizational management of BIG to fulfill its goal.
Targeting the research fronts of genomics, CAS Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences & Information focuses on the establishment of new theories and the development of new technologies and methodologies of the genomics by taking full advantage of integrating various kinds of omics research. CAS Key Laboratory of Genomic and Precision Medicine focuses on the integration of population genetics and evolution theory to deal with cancer and other complex diseases in Chinese populations, aiming to facilitate the individualized treatment for health and wellness, the project “the Precision Medicine Research in Chinese Population”, supported by CAS, aims to answer the challenges in the precision medicine of complex diseases among Chinese, which involves team work of multiple institutions. This program will lay foundations for the research system of precision medicine in China. Big Data Center serves to construct databases of big data integration and value-added curation to aid share and translation of big data in the support of activities in both academia and industry, with a primary focus on data on precision medicine and important bio resources. The first Sino archive for raw sequencing data named Genome Sequence Archive (GSA) has been successfully developed, which is called a significant contribution to the domestic data deposition, archive and sharing in China, also appears as the forth current main data center besides the other 3 in the world.
BIG always pays attention to the development of talents, a number of leading talents and outstanding young talents joined the institute with fresh thoughts and power.
Centered on “Three Major Outputs”, BIG made a series of gratifying results, including but not limited to unraveling the global reprogramming of 3D chromatin during early embryonic development, revealed a new mechanism for the modification and regulation of RNA m6A (N6-methyladenosine), established high-throughput sequencing at the single-base resolution and bioinformatics analysis techniques for m6A and m5C (5-methylcytosine), developed the Genome Variation Map, the largest database on genomic sequence variations in China, releasing a whole package of new functionalities and tools of bioinformatics resources, revealed the role of recurrently-mutated genes of acute myeloid leukemia in maintaining the normal hematopoietic stem cell functions, identified key genomic alterations in aggressive NK-cell leukemia, and played a major role in the initiation of a multi-center precision medicine study for the treatment of children with acute myeloid leukemia using a novel low dose chemotherapy regimen.
By the end of 2017, BIG had 224 employees, 10 postdoctoral researchers and 265 graduate students. There are 13 recipients of the “National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars”, “Young and middle-aged leading scientists, engineers and innovators”, “National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars” and "Chinese Academy of Sciences young scientists”. There include 20 recipients of the “LU JIAXI Award for Junior Scientists”, the “Youth Innovation Promotion Association” and the “Key technologist”.
BIG is targeting the key questions of genomics science, focus on the national demand and the future development of BIG. With high starting point and standard, we will establish one world’s leading research center to achieve major breakthroughs and significant theoretical innovations.