To Better bridge the atomistic microcosms of microarray research, David Allison, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health has received a $409,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Allison will use the five-year grant to establish a national network of microarray researchers that will focus on issues in interpreting and using microarray data.
“The technology holds unprecedented power to help researchers determine the function of genes and, in turn, the fundamental processes — from development and aging to disease — of organisms, including humans,” said Allison. “However, there are many questions about how to use the technology and how to interpret the data. Our aim is to further explore this technology and in turn, improve its effectiveness.”
Allison is planning to bring together researchers from different disciplines and 17 different institutions to examine the use of microarrays in gene expression studies. He aims to draw into the group computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, bioinformatics specialists, measurement theorists, and experts in microarray technology.
The network’s activities will include a visiting scholars’ program and an annual retreat, the first of which is to be held in September at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. Allison plans to have the group look at the issue of reliability and validity of measurements made using microarray technology, and ways to improve the published studies.
Allison will also launch a website for the group to update members and the public on network activities and present summaries of ongoing work.
“The website will support efforts of network scientists who are developing and using new methodologies and demonstrating their use through published papers, which is primarily how the information will be disseminated among the scientific community,” Allison said.