For the Joint Genome Institute, the end of 2018 was marked by a celebration of contributing over one “petabase” – a quadrillion nucleotide bases of DNA sequence to the public data repositories over its now 20-plus-year history. In 2019, the countdown has begun to the June dedication event of the Integrative Genomics Building—the new home of the JGI and KBase in the heart of the Lab’s 200-acre campus—with the big move from leased space in Walnut Creek, Calif. scheduled to begin a month later.
In parallel with the intricate move preparations, the JGI has released its newest 5-Year Strategic Plan: Beyond Basepairs – A Vision for Integrative and Collaborative Genome Science, the culmination of an eight-month intensive conversation, writing, and incubation process.
“JGI’s ‘vision’ is truly a tour de force,” said Mary Maxon, Biosciences Associate Laboratory Director, of the 100-page document with over 200 actionable milestones. JGI Director Nigel Mouncey credits JGI Science Program Deputy Axel Visel for driving the monumental effort,
which considered input from scores of individuals, including JGI staff, Biosciences and Berkeley Lab leadership, the half-dozen JGI advisory committees and its primary funders at the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), among others.
New areas of emphasis, for those who are already familiar with the research portfolio that the JGI supports, include JGI’s emerging leadership role in a Microbiome Data Science effort (pages 37-39) and the launching of a Secondary Metabolites research group (pages 47-49).
“Our hope is to circulate this document widely within the Biosciences Area and among our Berkeley Lab colleagues, particularly with the other user facilities including the Advanced Light Source, the Molecular Foundry, NERSC and ESnet, as well as externally to prospective partners to generate awareness of and clarity about the JGI’s strategic directions,” said Mouncey. “In this way, we can be more responsive to cross-cutting opportunities, align goals across the Area and BER-supported research themes, as well as strengthen and sustain JGI’s core competencies. We encourage you to read through it, provide us feedback and to help us calibrate progress toward our near- and long-term goals. And, by the way, as far as sequencing goes, the JGI’s next petabase will likely be achieved in the next three years, if not sooner!”