Yale researcher receives $1.3 million NIH grant to build Center of Excellence in Biomedical Computing

October 30, 2001

Perry Miller, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and director of Medical Informatics at Yale School of Medicine, has received a $1.3 million grant as part of a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative to support planning for Centers of Excellence in Biomedical Computing at several universities nationwide.

This "pre-center" grant provides funds over three years to help prepare Yale to host such a center, which could ultimately be funded at $5 million per year or more. Co-directors of this planning grant at Yale include Michael Snyder, professor and chair of molecular, cellular and developmental biology; and Martin Schultz, the Arthur K. Watson Professor of Computer Science. Many other faculty members from a variety of Yale departments are also participating in the grant.

Miller said NIH decided to support centers in biomedical computing because computing and informatics are becoming a critical part of all areas of modern biology and clinical medicine. Huge amounts of data are being produced about the genomes of many species.

"This massive amount of information needs to be stored, analyzed and understood in the context of biology as a whole," said Miller. "To allow this, the genome data need to be integrated with large amounts of related data that are being produced in virtually all fields of bioscience and clinical medicine."

NIH has identified a critical shortage of scientists trained in the interdisciplinary areas of biomedical computing. The new centers will help train new scientists in these areas. Because few, if any, universities were currently ready to undertake this task, the NIH is supporting universities as they plan and prepare to meet the challenge.

"One particular area where Yale faculty are already working to build new strength involves developing new educational programs in bioinformatics, an emerging field that focuses on the use of computing to help manage and analyze the massive amount of data now being generated in the biosciences. A committee chaired by Douglas Kankel, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale, is currently planning how new undergraduate and graduate programs in bioinformatics could be created at Yale," said Miller.
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Yale University

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