Sujeevan Ratnasingham is Associate Director (Informatics) of the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph and the Chief Architect of the BOLD ( [ http://www.boldsystems.org/] ) and mBRAVE ( [ http://www.mbrave.net/) platforms. He has a background in Computer Science from the University of Guelph with a focus on high performance computing and database analysis. His research focuses on machine learning approaches to high-volume DNA sequence and biodiversity data analysis, most notably with the development of the BIN system, an framework to standardize and centralize the generation of molecular OTUs. He joined the Hebert lab in 2003 as one of the first researchers focused on DNA barcoding, providing bioinformatics support in the assessment of single gene markers to delineate animal species. His contribution to DNA barcoding has continued since then with the development and expansion of BOLD and mBRAVE, development of high-throughput barcoding methods, and involvement in the selection and standardization of barcoding markers.
The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium, was initiated in 2010; it involves an international consortium of researchers and institutions that joined forces to advance the development of a DNA-based identification system for life. For our first five years, we set the goal of assembling reference sequences for half a million species, and by August 2015 - we met this target. In January 2019, iBOL will launch BIOSCAN, a 7-year project to implement DNA-based bio-monitoring programs at 2,500 sites around the planet, and will also extend the DNA barcode reference library required to contextualize the collected data. BIOSCAN represents the biological counterpart to the way in which our understanding of the physical world has been advanced by digital sensors and will produce a vast amount of data that will set the stage for new interpretations of the biological world. The success of BIOSCAN is tied to three fields of work: standardized sample acquisition, massively parallel DNA sequencing, and scalable and flexible cyberinfrastructure. This talk will focus on developments in the last field. BIOSCAN and DNA-based studies of biodiversity at large requires cyberinfrastructure tools that employ new strategies, data standards, and workflows. Important aspects of future developments will need to include an adoption of big-data concepts and tools, and a focus on knowledge generation. I present early solutions to these challenges, including the latest version of BOLD (version 4), new tools, and future plans to address evolving requirements.