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BBSRC, Purdue University, SGI, CLC Bio, Kapelan, LabVantage, onCore UK, ProSanos, BioIT Alliance, Johns Hopkins, Whitehead-MIT BioImaging Center, Definiens, GNS, IBM, DNAStar,

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UK’s BBSRC Earmarks Funding for Bioinformatics Resources, Systems Bio Tools
 
The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council this week issued two calls for proposals of interest to bioinformatics.
 
The first, “Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund,” has set aside £6 million ($11.4 million) for a pilot project “to support the establishment, maintenance, and enhancement of bioinformatic and biological resources required by bioscience communities.”
 
The fund will support “high quality, strategically relevant” resources that are “necessary to underpin the UK's international quality bioscience.”
 
Grants are available for up to five years. BBSRC said it expects to award grants across a range of £50,000 to £1.5 million.
 
The closing date for expressions of interest is Dec. 15. Further information on the initiative is available here.
 
The second proposal, “Research Networks: Mathematical Tools for Systems Biology,” will provide £400,000 over three years to support up to six research networks “that will bring together mathematical scientists and life scientists in order to tackle key challenges in systems biology.” 
 
Each network will focus on a different area of the “mathematics/systems biology interface,” BBSRC said.
 
The closing date for proposals is March 7, 2007. Further details are available here.
 

Purdue to Test Mitrion Blast on SGI’s RASC Under New FPGA Initiative
 
Purdue University’s Rosen Center for Advanced Computing has launched a field programmable gate array initiative that will test bioinformatics code and other scientific software on SGI’s Altix 450 server configured with RASC (Reconfigurable Application-Specific Computing) RC100 Blades.
 
SGI said that the system will be installed in the fourth quarter.
 
Purdue also purchased an Altix 4700 system and a 30 TB SGI InfiniteStorage array for immediate production use, and the RASC system will initially be used as a separate development environment “focused on code porting, production and operations,” SGI said.
 
The Rosen Center researchers will first test Mitrionics’ newly launched accelerated version of NCBI Blast [BioInform 11-10-06].
 
The center will also test other codes in nanotechnology, image processing, and high-energy physics.
 
David Braun, a research programmer at the Rosen Center, said in a statement that an FPGA draws one-quarter to one-third the power of a typical CPU, which “reduces both the light bill and the thermal load.”
 
According to Braun, a typical computer system at the center currently costs around $200,000 a year in electricity. The researchers are exploring whether FPGAs can be used to scale back costs by 10 percent to 20 percent every year.
 

 
CLC Bio to Collaborate with Kapelan on 1D Gel Analysis Software
 
CLC Bio and Kapelan Bio-Imaging said this week that they have signed a collaboration agreement covering sales, marketing, distribution, data integration, and certain areas of product development related to Kapelan’s ID gel-analysis software.
 
Under the partnership, CLC Bio will market Kapelan’s LabImage 1D 2006 product series.
 
Bernhard Drag, international sales manager at CLC Bio, said in a statement that Kapelan’s software is “a perfect add-on” to the company’s product portfolio.
 
Further details about the collaboration were not provided.
 

 
onCore UK to Use LabVantage's Sapphire for Cancer Biobanking
 
LabVantage said this week that onCore UK, a collaboration between the UK’s Department of Health, Medical Research Council, and Cancer Research UK, will use its Sapphire BioBanking Solution to support its large-scale cancer tissue bank.
 
onCore UK is responsible for developing and running the national biosample resource, which stores tissue and blood samples donated by patients that are made available to UK cancer researchers.
 
"After a thorough competitive request for proposal and review process, we decided that LabVantage's Sapphire BioBanking Solution would provide us with the informatics infrastructure to help us achieve our objectives," said Mahendra Navarange, head of informatics and IT at onCore UK, in a statement.
 
Sapphire's interface will be used as the portal to the biobank to enable browser access for researchers, clinicians, and third-party collaborators.
 

 
ProSanos Joins BioIT Alliance
 
Healthcare informatics firm ProSanos said this week that it has joined the Microsoft-led  BioIT Alliance, an industry consortium formed to share best practices for managing biomedical and life sciences data.
 
"The problem of data integration, particularly as it relates to clinical trials and drug safety, has been of great interest to ProSanos researchers since our founding in 2000," said Jonathan Morris, president and CEO of ProSanos.
 
He added that the company hopes to work with BioIT Alliance partners to “maximize the value of investments in healthcare informatics.”
 

 
JohnsHopkinsProteomicsCenter to Use Ludesi's Gel-Imaging Software
 
Swedish bioinformatics company Ludesi this week said the Johns Hopkins Bayview Proteomics Center will use its gel image-analysis services in its expression proteomics research.
 
Ludesi said its 2D gel electrophoresis-imaging software can help users avoid errors that are common with “conventional” 2D software.
 
The Johns Hopkins Bayview Proteomics Center develops treatments for heart, lung, and blood diseases.
 
Financial terms of the deal were not released.
 

 
Whitehead-MITBioImagingCenter to Deploy Definiens Imaging Software
 
Definiens said this week that the Whitehead Institute-MIT BioImaging Center will use its Enterprise Image Intelligence Suite of products, including its Cellenger high-content analysis package.
 
The software will be available for use by the MIT community. MIT will also “enable industry representatives with commercial interests to view, evaluate, and explore the solution onsite,” Definiens said in a statement.
 
Definiens also plans to work with MIT researchers to develop new imaging software products and to customize its platform to meet the institute’s research needs.
 

 
GNS Snags $1.6M Cardiac Modeling SBIR; IBM to Contribute Blue Gene Compute Time
 
Gene Network Sciences said this week that it has been awarded a three-year, $1.6 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to further develop its VisualHeart cardiac modeling software platform.
 
GNS said in a statement that IBM will contribute “Blue Gene supercomputing power and expertise to the project.”
 
VisualHeart is designed to simulate a drug's effect on an electrocardiogram, including the long QT index. It uses information on drug effects at the ion channel level alongside the simulation of cardiac electrical activity to determine proarrhythmic markers and mechanism of action.
 
GNS is collaborating with Robert Gilmour of Cornell University and Charles Antzelevitch of the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory to generate experimental data for the platform.
 
The award follows three cardiac-related Phase I SBIR grants that GNS received from the NIH in 2005. These grants supported development of the simulation platform for creating computer models of cardiac electrophysiology; data integration; and the extension of GNS technology to include models of key cardiac signaling networks [BioInform 08-01-05].
 

 
Cancer Research UK Licenses DNAStar’s Lasergene
 
DNAStar said this week that it has signed a site license agreement with Cancer Research UK that allows CR-UK researchers to use its Lasergene sequence analysis software anywhere on its Lincoln’s Inn Fields or Clare Hall Laboratories campuses for a three-year period. 
 
Under the terms of the arrangement, CR-UK researchers at other sites are entitled to “special terms” to purchase Lasergene, DNAStar said.
 
GATC Biotech, DNAStar’s software distributor in Europe, helped negotiate the license agreement.
 
Financial terms of the deal were not provided.

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