BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 12, 2003 - Life scientists use computational tools – quantitative, statistical, and population genetics, molecular genetics, biological database systems, and computational genetics / genomics – to understand and treat or prevent disease at the cellular and DNA levels. Thus, many programs across the university combine mathematical, computer science, and life science skill sets.

Virginia Tech’s research in wireless technologies, network systems, and digital libraries and data structures also provides significant research expertise for informatics, telemedicine delivery, and other uses of technology to deliver information.

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

A shared resource for the Commonwealth of Virginia, VBI focuses on understanding host–pathogen-environmental interactions at the molecular level. Bioinformatics, the merger of information technologies with biotechnologies, supports the computational methods to mine vast quantities of data for critical knowledge and discoveries. A systems approach for the mathematical modeling of the biology of living organisms is being realized. Research efforts include a global pathogen portal (PathPort), which integrates pathogen databases around the world to aid in the rapid detection, identification, and forensic attribution of high-priority pathogens, allowing more effective response to biological threads. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense and others, VBI is creating the data model, user interface, tools for analysis, and the portal, which will be available via the Internet. Another significant research collaboration with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine will greatly evolve the understanding of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, AIDS, malaria, and measles, the four leading infectious disease killers worldwide. From the mathematical modeling of biochemical networks to simulating complex metabolic processes in cells from phylogenetic research elucidating evolutionary relationships to the development of fluid-based microarrays, VBI is creating and using tools to better understand the molecular, cellular, and environmental interactions that affect human health, agricultural systems, and the environment. Multidisciplinary research is being conducted in collaboration with IBM, SUN Microsystems, European Media Labs, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the College of William and Mary, North Carolina State University, and Virginia Tech researchers.

Article taken from "Human Health Research at Virginia Tech," a publication of University Special Initiatives, James Bohland, and the Office of University Relations, Larry Hincker, Vice President.

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Published by Public Relations, January 11, 2003