BLACKSBURG, Va., July 15, 2008 –A team of collaborators involved in a new project to develop a transdisciplinary course in bioinformatics for high school and college students held its first workshop, which was hosted by the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech, on June 25-27, 2008, in Blacksburg, Va.

CIBRED first workshop
A CIBRED collaborator participates in a discussion at the project’s first workshop, which was held on June 25-27 in Blacksburg, Va

The project, “CI-Team Implementation for Biological Researchers, Educators and Developers (CIBRED)” is part of VBI’s education and outreach program in Cyberinfrastructure – Training, Education, Advancement and Mentoring (CI-TEAM). Funded by a $918,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project involves partnerships with scientific researchers and high school and undergraduate educators from several institutions nationwide to build an educational program that will help prepare students for research environments where cyberinfrastructure systems, tools and services are used effectively to fuel a knowledge-based economy. Students and researchers involved in the CIBRED project will focus on the development of solutions for specific scientific projects in an environment that removes the boundaries between different disciplines.

Educators from National University Research Institute, Hampton University, Howard University, Virginia Tech, Richard Stockton College, Cape May Community College, and several area high schools attended the workshop to coordinate curriculum design efforts for the cyberinfrastructure courses being developed. Sessions involved overviews of separate high school and college courses, focusing on the creation of flexible curricula that can be integrated into different high school and college environments with varying educational requirements.

According to Oswald Crasta, project director of VBI’s Cyberinfrastructure Group (CIG) and principal investigator for the grant, “it was a great opportunity to interact with all the stakeholders of the project. The workshop helped us to coordinate key activities in what are known as the 5D-areas of introducing a fully fledged curriculum, namely design, development, deployment, debriefing and dissemination.”

“At VBI, our educational mission is very important to us,” VBI Executive and Scientific Director Bruno Sobral explained to the workshop attendees. “We need to work hand-in-hand with educators to make sure that we define the best possible curricula for training the next generation of scientists in cyberinfrastructure. In this way we can tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing society today,” Sobral said.

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CONTACT: Susan Bland (540) 231-7912;

Published by Susan Bland, July 14, 2008