BLACKSBURG, Va., September 16, 2011 – Shamira Shallom, a graduate student in Virginia Tech’s doctoral program in Genetics Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (GBCB) program, has won the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Dissertation Scholars Award. 

This dissertation research award is for Shallom's study on developing a species-independent pathogen forensic array with Dr. Harold ‘Skip’ Garner, executive director and professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. The award will support advancement of her research program in the form of a stipend and career development opportunities. After finishing her Ph.D., Shallom plans to work in research and foster development of science opportunities for students at the middle and high school level.

“Shamira is one of those extremely hard working graduate students, who came to the lab with a very large experience toolbox, which she is using, along with her creativity, to advance a project that has national and international infectious disease and biosecurity implications,” said Garner.

Prior to becoming a full-time student, Shallom started in 2005 as a research associate working in VBI’s Cyberinfrastructure and Core laboratory divisions. Prior to that, she studied parasite genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute for several years including Plasmodium falciparum, the organism that causes malaria. Shallom worked on another major project area while there, the Pathogen Functional Genome Resource Center, where she advanced comparative genomics and developed a high-throughput protein expression platform.

SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with 16 member states to improve public pre-K-12 and higher education. Founded by the region's governors and legislators in 1948, SREB was America's first interstate compact for education. Today it is the only regional education compact that works directly with state leaders, schools and educators to improve teaching, learning and student achievement at every level of education. The program particularly encourages applicants who seek Ph.D.s in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines and is part of a nationwide initiative to foster minority faculty members by offering support through the dissertation writing phase of the doctoral program. The Board, which is comprised of members from sixteen states, has awarded 50 doctoral awards this year.


About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.



Tiffany Trent

Published by Tiffany Trent, September 16, 2011