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Brown University to Build Computational Biology Center With $11.5M NIH Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – With the support of a five-year, $11.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Brown University is establishing a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) to advance computational biology research. 

The Center for the Computational Biology od Human Disease will be designed to foster collaboration between empirical and computational biologists in analyzing large genomic data sets in order to accelerate translational medicine. 

"Brown scientists and students from a number of departments around the university — from computer science and applied mathematics to biology, medicine, and public health — have been working collaboratively to understand and realize the benefits of advanced genomics," David Savitz, vice president for research at Brown, said in a statement. "This new COBRE will expand those programs to help move Brown to the forefront of this exciting, promising field of research."

The center will initially fund the work of five teams of early-career researchers working under established faculty mentors, and will include a biomedical big data core of scientists developing analysis tools to support the teams' projects. 

These projects will focus on ethnic and gender genomic disparities in leukemia; ; tolerance of viral/bacterial co-infections in the lung; the gut microbiome in irritable bowel disease; drug targets for healthspan extension; and genomic variation in preeclampsia.

"There's data and then there's information," David Rand, director of the new center, noted. "Turning data into information you can use for something is what computational biology is all about."