It took a lot to lure Karin Remington away from her position as project manager at the National Ecological Observatory Network, which she began earlier this year. But it was the chance to work on the cutting edge of computational biology as director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at NIH’s National Institute for General Medical Sciences that convinced her to make the switch. “It had to be a really wonderful opportunity for me to have left that position [at NEON]; that was a wonderful project that I had been involved with,” Remington says. “But coming to work at NIH and being involved in biomedical research efforts is just very exciting.”
As director, Remington will oversee more than 1,300 research and training grants totaling roughly $98 million. She will also manage several interdisciplinary programs, including the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, which focuses on developing computer models to detect and prevent emerging infectious diseases, and the National Centers for Systems Biology, which conducts systems-level analysis of biological phenomena.
Remington says she is most looking forward to supervising NIH’s Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative, which works in conjunction with the National Science Foundation to support research and training in computational biology. “I think that’s a really exciting role to bring the different institutes together and make the most possible use of them by facilitating better communication across disciplines and helping to break down some of the barriers that keep real collaborative, interdisciplinary work from having the kind of support that it needs,” she says.
Remington is no stranger to genomics; from 1999 to 2002, she helped develop computational models for Celera Genomics leading to the completed sequence of the fruit fly, human, and mouse genomes. “At that time, I understood how exciting the promise of having the genome sequenced was and the importance of the type of life science work that goes on at NIH,” she says. “[NIH] is just a very rewarding and exciting place to be right now, in what they call the post-genomic era, but I think as most people agree, this is just beginning.”