The Slovenian scientists have joined the world trends of the post-genomic era by organizing a “Slovenian Network for Functional Genomics”. This informal network has been constituted in 2001 at the Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine at University of Ljubljana. The aim of the network was a virtual connection of all research groups and laboratories that work in Slovenia in the various fields of functional genomics. In December 2001 the initiators of the network from University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy and the Biotechnical Faculty, called the “kick-off” meeting of the “Slovenian Consortium for Design and Analysis of Bio-Chips” that has been later renamed to the “Slovenian Consortium for Bio-Chips”. The Consortium was joined by the Slovenian academic, research and clinical institutions, as well as by pharmaceutical industry (see Consortium members). Due to the fact that the neighboring countries to Slovenia at that time already had microarray platforms, the Slovenian researchers believed it is urgent to establish the post-genome infrastructure also in Slovenia. Without this, Slovenian scientists would not be competitive in the basic, applicative and clinical functional genomics research, being also one of the priorities of the EU health research areas.
Major goals of the Slovenian Consortium of Bio-Chips were:
to acquire the infrastructure of the novel post-genomic wave,
to establish novel laboratory space for the post-genome technologies,
to train and employ a sufficient number of personnel that could perform experiments and help with biological interpretations for consortium members as well as for other potential costumers.
Centre for Functional Genomics and Bio-Chips
By the financial contribution of all Consortium members, the former Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of Slovenia, the Ministry of Economy, The European Structure Funds (ESSR), donators and later the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) we have acquired in 2005 the first set of equipment for design and analysis of low-density microarrays. In 2006 the server for data storage and equipment for automatic hybridization of microarrays were purchased and in 2007 the entire track for processing high density microarrays, including the Affymetrix technology became available. Thanks to the great support from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ljubljana, novel laboratory space of the “Centre for Functional Genomics and Bio-Chips” (CFGBC) has been opened on June 16th 2005. The infrastructure belonging to the Slovenian Consortium for Bio-Chips is located at the CFGBC unit. A time frame of the Consortium activities from 2001 – 2008 is shown below.