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University of Iowa Lands $600K Bioinformatics Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Iowa has won a nearly $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to start a program for doctoral students that will provide bioinformatics training for life sciences and biomedical applications, according to the university.

The five-year grant will enable students from 22 different doctoral disciplines to receive an interdisciplinary certificate in a program offering a core of bioinformatics coursework and seminars, as well as advice from mentors on a variety of bioscience and informatics topics.

The goal of the program, called "Bioinformatics Training in the Life Sciences and Biomedicine," is to provide graduates in life sciences modern computational methods and skills for solving biomedical problems. Students in the program will work with researchers from various colleges and with scientists at the UI Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) to study the molecular and genetic basis of a variety of diseases.

"No field has been impacted more by advances in micro-chip manufacturing processes, high-performance computing and advanced networking technology than bio-medicine and the basic life sciences over the past two decades," Tom Casavant, professor of electrical/computer and biomedical engineering and director of the CBCB, said in a statement.

"This new graduate program answers the need for formal training for students by emphasizing both bioscience and informatics, while developing the skills to effectively apply these quantitative methods in novel ways to problems such as human genetic disease diagnosis and treatment," he added.

"[S]tudents will encounter didactic training, but also work with cooperating thesis advisors from different fields to develop a coherent research program that spans the two disciplines. Very few programs exist that function in this decentralized and intentionally interdisciplinary manner," he said.

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