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News-Dr. James D. Watson, ¡§Father of the DNA Double Helix,¡¨ visits the NCHC
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Dr. James D. Watson, ¡§Father of the DNA Double Helix,¡¨ visits the NCHC

2010/05/12

Dr. James D. Watson, world-famous molecular biologist, discoverer of the DNA double helix structure, and the 1962 Nobel Prize winner in the field of biomedicine, visited the NCHC on April 3rd, 2010. Dr. Watson, accompanied by Prof. An-Shi Chiang of the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), was welcomed by the NCHC’s Deputy Director, Dr. Wei-Cheng Huang, and the leader of the NCHC’s Bioinformatics Knowledge Database project, Dr. Chang-Huan Hsieh. During his visit, Dr. Watson was updated as to the current status of the NCHC’s Bioinformatics Knowledge Database project and given an introduction to the NCHC’s computing
resources.

Since 1968, Dr. Watson has led a team at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, New York, which is a key site in the development of genetic sciences, cancer research, and botanical studies in the US. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is also known globally for its neurophysiology research and other studies. Since the 1990s, the understanding of the neural network functions of the brain has become a key area of research. The NCHC, the NTHU, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have worked together on such research that examines sections of the fruit fly brain using 3D neural microscopic imaging technology. The project’s extensive research achievements have been published in various international scientific periodicals. During Dr. Watson’s visit to Taiwan, in addition to scheduled speeches, he expressed his desire to learn more about Taiwan’s current and future developments in cranial neuroscience research.

The 3D FlyCircuit Bioimage Database project is an important cooperative project begun by the NCHC, the NTHU’s College of Life Science, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the spring of 2004. The purpose of the project is to use computer-aided technology to re-build a 3D image of the fruit fly’s brain nerves and to establish the world’s first 3D image informatics database system of the fruit fly’s cranial neural network. The NCHC is responsible for the planning, establishment, and service provisioning of the database, which, in the future, will be a multi-functional bio-microscopic service center that provides all of the research and educational resources required by the project.

Bioscience is one of the most advanced fields in current science circles and has much potential for growth in the 21st century. Its research methodology has evolved from the early observational stages to a computerized simulative prediction stage. The extensive developments in the complexity of research subjects demands tremendous computing capability, and the NCHC meets this demand by providing long-term backbone support to researches in a wide array of related fields such as bioinformatics, structural biology, bioimaging, and biomolecular simulation. The NCHC is able to satisfy the enormous requirements for imaging display capabilities. Moreover, it provides a platform that allows users around the world to communicate in cooperative research, without regard to limits of time or space. During his visit, Dr. Watson encouraged the NCHC and the team at NTHU to continue their untiring efforts and further facilitate fruitful results in global studies of science for the well-being of society.

Photo of Dr. Watson with employees of the NCHC in the NCHC lobby 
Dr. Watson (middle), the NCHC’s Deputy Director Huang (2nd from left) and Dr. Hsieh (3rd from left), and NCTU’s Prof. Chiang (5th from left).

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