ELIXIR appoints founding director

Niklas Blomberg, ELIXIR Director

Dr Niklas Blomberg, incoming Founding Director for ELIXIR
Hinxton, UK - The Interim ELIXIR Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Niklas Blomberg to the newly created post of ELIXIR Founding Director.

ELIXIR, the pan-European infrastructure for biological information, officially entered its implementation phase in January 2013. ELIXIR’s core objective is to ensure that Europe can continue to handle a rapidly growing volume and variety of data from high-throughput experiments such as DNA sequencing. Proper management of this information promotes knowledge-based economic growth and facilitates the translation of research into innovations that meet global challenges in food security, energy and health. The building that houses the ELIXIR Hub, funded by the UK Large Facilities Capital Fund, is under construction on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK.

Dr Blomberg, a Swedish national, holds a BSc in Chemistry from Göteborg University and a PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg. He is currently Principal Scientist and Team Leader in Computational Chemistry and Computational Biology at AstraZeneca R&D Mölndal, Sweden, where he has enjoyed a successful career since 1999. In addition, he has been an industry advisor in national eScience initiatives and an active participant in cross-industry research programmes.

“Today’s announcement marks a very important milestone for ELIXIR and is indicative of the enormous progress that has been made by the ELIXIR Member States towards the implementation of the project,” said Prof Søren Brunak of the Technical University, Denmark, Chair of the ELIXIR Interim Board. “Niklas is greatly respected by his fellow bioinformaticians in industry, by his colleagues in basic research and by leaders in life science data provision. He brings to ELIXIR a wealth of experience coupled with excellent strategic leadership skills, which will be critical in meeting the challenges of the planning and operational development of this crucial research infrastructure.”

“I am honoured to have been chosen to lead ELIXIR at such an important juncture in its implementation,” said Dr Blomberg, who will take up his new post on 1 May, based at the European Molecular Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK. “I passionately believe Europe needs robust bioinformatics services to meet the needs of biomedical research in both the academic and industrial sectors. World-class research infrastructures are the drivers of innovation and have a vital role to play in economic recovery and competitiveness. I am excited to apply my industry experience to build bridges between the bioinformatics communities throughout Europe and beyond.”

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