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Bioinformatics Executive Among Advisors Named for New Keck Graduate Institute

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CLAREMONT, Calif.--Kwang-I Yu, president and CEO of bioinformatics hardware provider Paracel, is one of 11 scientists and business leaders named to the advisory council of the Keck Graduate Institute here, a new graduate school dedicated to integrating natural science and engineering education.

Unveiled in July as part of the Claremont College Consortium, the institute will accept its first students next year. Bioinformatics is one of the key disciplines that will be emphasized at the school.

Joining Yu on the council are Bruce Albert, president of the National Academy of Sciences; Alexander Capron, university professor of law and medicine at the University of Southern California; Robert Curry, a partner in the venture capital firm Sprout Group; Larry Gold, founder and CEO of NeXstar Pharmaceuticals and professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder; John Hopfield, professor of molecular biology at Princeton; Louis Rosso, chairman and CEO of Beckman Instruments; David Sadava, Pritzker Family Foundation professor in the joint sciences department of the Claremont Colleges; Maxine Singer, president of the Carnegie Institution; Kenneth Shine, president of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences; and Daniel Vapnek, retired vice-president for research and development for Amgen.

When it announced the new council late last month, the institute said it plans to name two to four more members in the coming months. The advisors are envisioned taking "an active role in helping the institute fulfill its mission to be a leader in synthesizing knowledge from the natural and applied sciences to train a new class of life science professionals and turn the vast power and potential of the life sciences into applied technologies that improve the human condition," the school stated.

The institute was launched with a $50 million grant from the WM Keck Foundation. It aims to build enrollment to 125 over a five-year period, with most students involved in masters programs taught by a faculty of approximately 15 full-time-equivalent positions. In addition to bioinformatics, other areas of focus will include biochemical process engineering, bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, medical devices, and biomechanics. The curriculum will include instruction in management, ethics, economics, systems, and policy issues to help orient students toward working in industry.

Henry Riggs, the institute's president, announced that the school's current priorities are recruiting faculty and preparing a curriculum "that pulls together the best of academia and industry." The Advisory Council will provide important guidance in these crucial next steps, he said.

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