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NCRR Gives USC $22.2M for National Bioinformatics Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Southern California has landed a $22.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to become a central coordinating point for a national bioinformatics and biomedical data collection and integration project, according to NIH's Biomedical Informatics Research Network.

The National Center for Research Resources funding, which will span five years, will support the establishment of the Biomedical Informatics Research Network Coordinating Center at USC, which the university said will make it "a central clearing house" for information from the BIRN.

BIRN, which was launched in 2001, was formed to foster large-scale collaborations in biomedical science by using new information technologies, and it aims to implement and distribute shared resources that will be usable to all biomedical researchers involved in disease diagnosis and treatment studies.

The need for a center for biomedical data springs from the "overwhelming quantity of data that geneticists and others produce," which can keep medical researchers from connecting with new discoveries and therapies.

The center will be led by USC Professor Carl Kesselman at the Viterbi School of Engineering Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the USC Information Sciences Institute. "Without a sophisticated bioinformatics capability — which only top engineers can provide — we cannot hope to translate the basic science into drugs and treatments that will improve the quality of life," Kesselman said in a statement.

He also said that the BIRNCC program "can accelerate the rate of discoveries for many areas of biomedical research."

The BIRN program has data centers at universities across the country that are involved in data collection, storage and management, quality assurance and analysis, and data sharing, integration, and discovery.

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