BLACKSBURG, Va., Sep. 29, 2003 – Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Director Bruno Sobral was a speaker at a special session of the American Society for Rickettsiology’s 18th meeting on September 27, in Cumberland, Md. The session – "Bacterial Genomics and Proteomics as Related to Biodefense" – was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Rare Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In his presentation, "Bioinformatics for Pathosystems Research: Data and Software Integration and Interoperability," Sobral explained VBI’s focus of understanding the "disease triangle" of host-pathogen-environment interactions and the importance of systems interoperation in the process. Sobral discussed VBI’s PathPort project, which enhances system interoperation by allowing users to share samples and data collaboratively.

PathPort, short for pathogen portal, combines information about pathogens from around the world with powerful analysis and visualization tools to aid in the rapid detection, identification, and forensic attribution of high-priority pathogens, which could cause infectious diseases or potentially be used as biological weapons.

The software infrastructure supporting the PathPort project is built around ToolBus, a client-side interconnect that allows researchers to easily access web services from all over the world and examine results using a wide variety of visualization tools.

# #

Published by Public Relations, September 28, 2003