NIGMS Creates Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Release Date:
Alison Davis, NIGMS

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has established a new Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) to support research and training in areas that join biology with the computer sciences, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

"The future of the biomedical sciences will be driven by advances in bioinformatics and computational biology," said NIGMS director Dr. Marvin Cassman. "NIGMS announced its formal interest in nurturing this research in 1998, but it is now time to establish a stronger focus for the institute's efforts in this area."

A key goal of computational biologists and bioinformatics scientists is to use computer technologies to solve enormously complex biomedical problems, such as how cells communicate and how organs or embryos develop. In particular, the flood of data generated by the Human Genome Project and by an ongoing explosion of recent advances in genomics has created an urgent need for researchers to use sophisticated and powerful computer techniques to sift through the reams of new data.

The key research goals of CBCB will be to encourage biomedical scientists and so-called quantitative (mathematically based) researchers to work together to:

  • generate mathematical models of biological networks,

  • develop modeling and simulation tools,

  • conduct basic theoretical studies related to the organization of biological networks, and

  • develop bioinformatics tools for analyzing and storing data.

CBCB will fund training and fellowship grants and sponsor workshops, courses, and meetings, as well.

The Center will also assume oversight of NIH's Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI) through its management of the BISTI Consortium (BISTIC). The goal of this initiative is to make optimal use of computer science and technology to address problems in biology and medicine. BISTIC is composed of senior-level representatives from NIH institutes and centers and representatives of other Federal agencies concerned with bioinformatics and computer-based applications.


To arrange an interview with NIGMS director Dr. Marvin Cassman, call the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.

More information about existing programs at NIGMS in the area of computational biology and complex systems is available at /Research/FeaturedPrograms/SysBio/.