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UTHealth Awarded $5.8M Grant for Cancer Bioinformatics Core

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded a University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) researcher $5.8 million to establish a research core that will develop tools to facilitate the use of big data in cancer research.

With the five-year grant, UTHealth's Wenjin Zheng will form the Data Science and Informatics Core for Cancer Research (DSICCR) at the center's School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI), where he serves as associate director. The goal of the core is to "translate the cutting-edge data science and informatics research at SBMI to easily accessible, high-quality, and user-friendly software and services to advance cancer research," according to the grant's abstract.

To that end, the DSICCR aims to build a cancer informatics infrastructure and provide cancer researchers — initially in Texas but ultimately in other states, as well — with access to data science and informatics services, computational methods, and guidance on how these technologies can advance their cancer research.

"The research into the causes of cancer using the latest technology has generated huge amounts of data," Zheng said in a statement. "The challenge now is to sift through the sea of cancer research data to find cures."

Including the latest award, UTHealth said it has received $71 million in total grant funding to date. In mid-2015, the institute received $5.6 million from CPRIT to develop its bioinformatics capability.