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Bioinformatics capability

Bioinformatics provides the tools and strategies needed to analyse information, and is critical to genomics research. The greater the capability in bioinformatics, the more we can do with the information we gather.

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National leadership in bioinformatics is required to support and build real capacity and capability in New Zealand. Strong links are needed between biological researchers, applied and academic bioinformaticians, and industry practitioners. Bioinformatics postdoctoral opportunities are needed to nurture novel ideas and technologies and provide international-level training and career pathways.

A nationwide network, shared best practice and a joint infrastructure will therefore improve New Zealand’s bioinformatics capability.  

Genomic Aotearoa’s approach to bioinformatics is one of research and upskilling. This project aims to upskill New Zealand’s biologists to analyse their own data through training opportunities, infrastructure, and building new tools and technologies into projects.

It will link New Zealand’s leading bioinformaticians with postdoctoral bioinformaticians working on Genomics Aotearoa projects, providing them with the training and tools to increase capacity. International training in bioinformatics technologies will be provided to all researchers in these projects, focusing on developing staff into trainers themselves to further spread capability.

Working with providers, a data archive will be developed and bioinformatics infrastructure set up to support Genomics Aotearoa research, along with a computational platform for national access to bioinformatics tools. This project will involve all Genomics Aotearoa partners as well as some associates.


  • National leadership in bioinformatics
  • Mentoring, networking and support for Genomics Aotearoa bioinformaticians.
  • A multi-institution collaborative national bioinformatics network
  • A national genomics data archive with appropriate guardianship
  • A national computational platform for genomics research


  • Professor Mik Black (University of Otago) – lead researcher
  • Dr Rudiger Brauning (AgResearch) – Primary Production Theme Bioinformatics Lead
  • Dr Kim Handley (University of Auckland) – Environment Theme Bioinformatics Lead 
  • Dr Joep de Ligt (ESR) – Health Theme Bioinformatics Lead 
  • Dr Tyler McInnes (University of Otago) – training coordinator 
  • Dr Libby Liggins (Massey University)
  • Boey Jian (University of Auckland) 

Genomics Aotearoa training associates

  • Carmen Astudillo Garcia (University of Auckland)
  • Rachael Ashby (AgResearch)
  • Leah Kemp (ESR)
  • Tina Sehrish, Massey University
  • Valter Almeida, Massey University
  • Murray Cadzow, University of Otago
  • Alana Alexander, University of Otago
  • Ludovic Dutoit, University of Otago
  • Hugh Cross, University of Otago
  • Annabel Whibley, University of Auckland
  • William Schierding, University of Auckland
  • Manuel Blank, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Olivia Angelin-Bonnet, Massey University
  • Laura Duntsch, University of Auckland

Bioinformatics Advisory Group:

  • Dr Cecilia Deng (Plant and Food Research)
  • Dr Jessie Jacobsen (University of Auckland) 
  • Dr Libby Liggins (Massey University)
  • Dr Tyler McInnes (University of Otago)
  • Dr Christina Straub (ESR)
  • Dr Annabel Whibley (University of Auckland)