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UCSC, Chugai, Bellevue Community College, BioWisdom, Legionnaires Disease


UCSC wins $1.6M in Bioinformatics, Biology Training Grants

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of California, Santa Cruz, a total of $1.6 million in two training grants: one in bioinformatics to the Department of Biomolecular Engineering, and one to the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCD Biology).

The five-year grants amount to $850,000 for biology and $800,000 for bioinformatics.

Richard Hughey, professor and chair of computer engineering and principal investigator on the bioinformatics training grant, said that the new bioinformatics training grant was awarded despite the fact that the campus’s PhD program in bioinformatics had not yet been formally approved when the application was submitted.

The bioinformatics grant will provide full funding for three graduate students the first year, increasing to five students for the remaining four years of the five-year grant.

Chugai Takes Subscription to Biopendium Online

Inpharmatica said last week that it has signed a non-exclusive Biopendium Online subscription with Chugai Pharmaceutical — the company’s fourth Japanese Biopendium subscriber and the second to use the online version, following Taisho’s subscription in March this year.

Biopendium is the protein annotation component of Inpharmatica’s PharmaCarta platform. It includes sequence annotation for more than 150 organisms, including protein 3D structure and ligand information.

The agreement with Chugai was negotiated in conjunction with PharmaDesign, Inpharmatica’s sales and marketing partner in Japan. MDL Information Systems markets Biopendium in the rest of the world.

Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

Community College to Create National Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics

Bellevue Community College of Bellevue, Wash., said last week that it has received a $775,000 grant from the US Department of Labor to develop a national Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics.

The grant is one of five awarded to US community colleges to create a National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce.

BCC said it will be charged with creating national skills standards in bioinformatics; designing curricula for college and high school use nationwide; providing faculty development; and offering classroom and on-line training.

BCC will be the only community college out of the five participating in the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce to focus on bioinformatics. Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina will focus on biotechnology research and development; MiraCosta Community College in California will specialize in bioprocessing; Indian Hills Community College in Iowa will emphasize agriculture and food processing; and New Hampshire Technical College will concentrate on biomanufacturing.

BioWisdom Relocates

Biomedical ontology provider BioWisdom said last week that it has relocated to the Harston Mill Campus in Cambridge, UK.

The company said in a statement that it has taken 4,440 square feet of new office space to house its current 23 employees.

“We have expanded rapidly over the past two years and require further space as we continue to grow the business,” said Gordon Baxter, BioWisdom CEO, in a statement.

Scientists Sequence Legionnaires' Disease

Scientists led by Columbia University have sequenced the genome of Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The analysis of the genome, which is four million base pairs long, was published in this week’s Science.

A team from the Columbia Genome Center found genes for unexpected metabolic pathways; new candidate virulence determinants; selective expansions of certain gene families; and a stretch of DNA that can exist in chromosomal and episomal forms.

L. pneumophila was first recognized as a human pathogen after an outbreak of fatal pneumonia at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in the 1970s.

According to a statement issued by Columbia, the bacterium, which is found within biofilms as well as fresh and industrial water systems, is able to survive in difficult environments, such as plumbing systems treated with potent biocides.


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