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Microsoft, Cornell University, BBSRC, Scripps Florida, IBM, Gene Network Sciences, Gene-IT, GeneGo, Genedata, Ariadne Genomics, Business Objects


Microsoft Awards $400K Annually to Cornell Comp Bio Center

Cornell University said this week that Microsoft is funding a Microsoft Institute for High-Performance Computing within the Computational Biology Service Unit at Cornell Theory Center.

Cornell said that Microsoft is providing the institute with annual funding of $400,000, which is renewable each year for "an indefinite period." Researchers at the center will focus on the development of new software and applications in the Microsoft high-performance computing environment.

Ron Elber, professor of computer science and director of the CBSU, will be the director of the new institute, and it will be managed by the current manager of the CBSU, CTC senior research associate Jaroslaw Pillardy.

The Microsoft funding will enable the center to hire another senior researcher and expand its compute cluster. The CBSU currently runs two clusters with a total of 512 processors. About 60 more dual-processor nodes will be added.

Microsoft and CTC have been collaborating since 2000, when the organizations first entered a partnership to develop Microsoft's capabilities in high-performance computing.

UK's BBSRC Seeks Input on Bioinformatics Funding Mechanisms

The UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is seeking feedback from the biological research community regarding bioinformatics and biological resources via an "online consultation."

BBSRC said in a memo that its Tools and Resources Strategy Panel is seeking input in order to develop "a funding mechanism to support these types of resources."

BBSRC expects to use the information to award £6 million to £7 million ($10.5 million to $12.2 million) for "a few highly strategic investments" through 2007.

Further details can be found at:

Scripps Florida to Use IBM Blue Gene for Pandemic Research

IBM and the Scripps Research Institute said this week that they are collaborating on an initiative dubbed "Project Check-mate," with the goal of anticipating, managing, and containing infectious diseases, such as the avian flu.

The joint research team will use IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer and will be based at Scripps' new research facility, Scripps Florida, in Palm Beach County.

Ajay Royyuru, senior manager of the IBM Computational Biology Center, will lead the IBM Research team, while Nicholas Tsinoremas, director of informatics for Scripps Florida, will lead the Scripps Research team.

The researchers will study the genetic variations of the virus and responses from the host immune system, and develop methodologies to anticipate and contain the disease, the organizations said.

GNS Opens New Office in Cambridge, Moves Ithaca HQ

Gene Network Sciences said this week that it has opened a new office in Cambridge, Mass., and has moved its Ithaca, NY, headquarters to the Cornell Business and Technology Park.

The Cambridge office is located at 10 Canal Park and houses eight GNS employees. It will serve as the lead site for the company's business development and oncology modeling activities.

The company's finance, administration, and cardiac modeling efforts remain in Ithaca.

Colin Hill, GNS CEO, said in a statement that an office in the Cambridge biotech hub is expected to be a "real selling point" in the firm's recruiting efforts.

The Cambridge office currently has an opening for a software engineer with experience in numerical methods and statistics.

Chiron Licenses Gene-IT's GenomeQuest

Gene-IT said this week that Chiron will use its GenomeQuest sequence search service.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

GeneGo and Genedata to Integrate Software

GeneGo and Genedata said this week that they have integrated their computational systems to create an analysis workflow that supports target selection and validation as well as diagnostic and biomarker applications.

The companies have integrated GeneGo's MetaCore analytical platform with Genedata's Expressionist and Phylosopher software.

Expressionist enables data and associated information to be imported, processed, and analyzed in an automated and repeatable workflow, while Phylosopher has been integrated with MetaCore's visualization tools to identify and prioritize pathways affected by disease, the companies said.

AlphaGenics to Use Ariadne's PathwayStudio for Nutrigenomics

Ariadne Genomics said this week that nutrigenomics firm AlphaGenics will use its PathwayStudio 4.0 software to support development of "consumer lifestyle and vanity products that incorporate a person's genetic information."

Fredric Abramson, CEO of AlphaGenics, said in a statement that PathwayStudio "enables us to efficiently identify how normal functions in gene regulation networks are influenced by small molecules and different nutrition components."

Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

Business Objects, IBM Partner on Clinical Genomics Offering

Business Intelligence software provider Business Objects said this week that it is partnering with IBM to develop an integrated healthcare and life sciences offering.

Under the agreement, the company has added "business intelligence capabilities" to IBM's Clinical Genomics platform to enable customers to "quickly synthesize and visualize genomic and pharmacogenomic information used in critical tasks."

"Most genomics data is buried in complex data mining models that very few people can access and understand," said Robb Eklund, vice president of industry solutions marketing at Business Objects, in a statement.

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The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.