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Baylor Launches Computational Research Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Baylor College of Medicine has launched a new center to provide computational and analytical tools for biomedical research faculty and students analyzing high-throughput data sets, such as human genome data.

The new Center for Computational and Integrative Biomedical Research (CIBR) will bring together and foster collaborations between experts at BCM and the Texas Medical Center working in a range of areas including biology, medicine, and computer science.

"A growing challenge in all areas of biomedical research is to integrate massive amounts of molecular and genetic data with the individual features of diseases and of their response to drugs," Olivier Lichtarge, a professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and director of the center, said in a statement. "This requires a concerted effort to distribute current computational tools widely and also to create the conditions for inventing a new generation of biological and medical algorithms."

Lichtarge told GenomeWeb Daily News in an e-mail that the CIBR is "a broad mandate that spans molecular and structural biology, high-throughput screening and drug design, and the analysis of human genetic variations in diverse patient cohorts."

A range of technologies at BCM's centers and cores including genetics, sequencing, epigenetics, proteomics, and other tools will be available to researchers working at the CIBR, Lichtarge told GWDN.

"While in the short term we seek to provide current state-of-the-art tools to our faculty, in the longer term we will increasingly seek to create novel quantitative methods motivated by biological and clinical questions," he said.

Beyond the instruments that are available to faculty and students, Lichtarge said that an important function of the CIBR will be to identify which analytical tools faculty members have for their use and which they do not.

"The center will then try to form research teams to invent these missing analytical methods," he said. "So the technologies at our disposal are important, but the quantitative technologies and models we lack – but that we are able to create – are the true focus and hopefully the true contribution of our faculty, post-docs, and students."

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