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Hope College Lands $1.3M from NSF for Bioinformatics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Hope College has won a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to develop bioinformatics software for use in microbial genomics research programs, the college said on Wednesday.

The Michigan school said it will develop a software package designed to use genomic information to model microbial metabolism. The software ultimately will become part of the Rapid Annotation Using Subsystems Technology (RAST) genome analysis services that is made available to researchers worldwide through the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

The aim is to provide integrated, automated software tools that can be used to analyze genomes, model the way metabolism works, and provide tools for analyzing regulatory data.

"By putting all three pieces together, we're hoping to be able to make predictions about metabolism and regulation in bacteria, and to do so more efficiently than would be possible using disparate tools in different locations with different interfaces," said Matt DeJongh, a Hope associate professor of computer science and a leader of the project.

DeJongh's co-leaders in the project include his Hope colleagues Aaron Best, an assistant professor of biology, and Nathan Tintle, an assistant professor of mathematics. The project leaders received a three-year, $235,000 NSF grant in 2008, and the new $1.3 million grant will support the project for two years.

The computational modeling project also has received funding from the Margaret D. Towsley Foundation and from a 2004 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The latest round of funding also will enable the researchers to partner with the Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes (FIG) and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

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