BLACKSBURG, Va., October 16, 2006 – Professors and students from Bluefield State College’s introductory cyberinfrastructure course visited the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute on October 6, 2006 as part of a field trip designed to give the students an opportunity to learn more about cyberinfrastructure environments and the Institute’s commitment to team science.

The four professors for the class, along with seven students, were given a tour of VBI facilities, an overview of the Institute from VBI’s Executive and Scientific Director Bruno Sobral, and a chance to interact with VBI scientists while participating in several cyberinfrastructure team modules. These modules, led by Daphne Rainey, senior research associate, and Stephen Cammer, senior bioinformatics scientist, give the students the opportunity to apply the tools and theories they have learned in their cyberinfrastructure class to real life experiences. The modules incorporate pathogen information from several ongoing projects at VBI into realistic scenarios, each centered on a simulated pathogen breakout in a population.

VBI has formed a partnership with Bluefield State College as part of a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support a forward-looking initiative in education in cyberinfrastructure. Funds from the project have been used to develop and implement the introductory cyberinfrastructure course at Bluefield State College, with an overall goal of broadening students’ access to computer-related technologies and encouraging trained students to pursue careers in informatics-related projects. Oswald Crasta, director of bioinformatics for VBI’s Cyberinfrastructure Group, serves as the principal investigator for the project, while Cammer and Susan Faulkner, VBI’s bioinformatics education and outreach coordinator, serve as co-principal investigators.

Susan Bland
(540) 231-7912;

Published by Susan Bland, October 16, 2006