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UCSD Lands $16.7M for Biomedical Data Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of California, San Diego, plans to use a $16.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a national center for biomedical computing that will develop technologies to support genomics-related and other large-scale studies.

Awarded under the NIH's National Centers for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) program, the five-year grant will be used to develop novel algorithms, open-source tools, and computational infrastructure and services.

The aim of the Integrating Data for Analysis, Anonymization and Sharing (iDASH) center at UCSD is to develop new ways to gather, use, and share biomedical information.

"This new center and effort is a way to democratize science, to bridge the computational divide between institutions like UC San Diego… and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CalIT2), both of which are playing key roles in the new center, and institutions lacking these resources," Lucila Ohno-Machado, chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics in UCSD's Department of Medicine, said in a statement.

She said that the iDASH center provides "a great resource to share privacy-protected data" and that it helps to integrate quantitative and biomedical research across that campus with researchers from the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Engineering.

"The idea is to create new systems and methods that give researchers everywhere access to information that can help push science forward by making optimal use of data and algorithms," Ohno-Machado added.

One example of the biological research projects the iDASH center will support include studies of the role of environment and genetics on the development and treatment of Kawasaki Disease, a rare condition affecting the cardiovascular system in children.

Along with the iDASH center, the NCBC also has funded centers at Stanford University, Columbia University, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Funding for the iDASH and the NCBC program comes from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Library of Medicine, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health.