BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 5, 2004 – Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Director Bruno Sobral will speak at the January meetings of the federal Infectious Diseases Informatics Working Committee and the National Interagency Genomics Sequencing Coordination Committee.

The regular monthly meetings of the committees will be held at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA on January 6 and 25, 2004, respectively. Dr. Rita Colwell, NSF Director, chairs these interagency working committees.

In his presentation entitled, "A Life Scientist's Road to Interoperability of Data and Tools," Sobral will explain VBI’s focus of understanding the "disease triangle" of host-pathogen-environment interactions and the importance of systems interoperation in the process. Sobral will highlight VBI’s PathPort project, which enhances system interoperation by allowing users to share data and information regarding infectious diseases 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. Sobral's presentation highlighted PathPort as an appropriate example of bioinformatics prototype project useful for our nation's wage against infectious diseases and bioterrorism.

About VBI

VBI's research platform centers on understanding the "disease triangle" or host-pathogen-environment interactions. With bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary merger of information technology and biology, faculty researchers at VBI have been able to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research. With almost $40 million in research funding at present, VBI researchers are working to find cures for many diseases of humans, crops, and animals; create high-yield, insect- and disease-resistant crops; and provide bioinformatics information and tools to support further discoveries.

VBI's two facilities now house the institute's solid core of bioinformatics research programs and services. Bioinformatics Facility I is located at the corners of Washington Street and Duckpond Drive on Virginia Tech's Campus. VBI's Research Building XV is located adjacent to Virginia Tech's campus in the Corporate Research Center. 

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Published by Public Relations, January 04, 2004