BLACKSBURG, Va., Jun. 26, 2003 - Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) Director Dr. Bruno Sobral today announced the release of PathPort 1.0, a global pathogen portal created with the aid of a $4 million federal contract. This unique portal collects and collates genetic information about all known pathogens and their close relatives. PathPort will connect diverse pathogen data and tools, thus aiding researchers in their studies of high-priority pathogens, speeding up development of countermeasures.

The software infrastructure supporting the PathPort project centers around ToolBus, and web services that allow researchers to easily access programs and data from distributed sources. This software architecture allows users to form groupings of related information and to perform comparative analysis. "This type of system also serves as a testbed for what the NSF calls cyberinfrastructure, which will revolutionize the way scientific research is conducted and communicated," explained Dr. Sobral.

New tools on version 1.0 cover such areas as DNA sequence and sequence annotation, gene prediction, phylogenetic analysis, homology search, and others. Background information on most of the pathogens from the CDC's and NIAID's A, B, and C lists of pathogens of concern will be available via these tools in the coming weeks.

Software architecture of this kind will prove essential for protection against infectious diseases and biological weapons. "In times such as these," Sobral said, "we are acutely cognizant of living in a society defined by, and dependent on, science and technology. Bioinformatics tools such as PathPort will continue to forge essential links between research communities."

VBI developed PathPort with the US Department of Defense in order to strengthen the nation's security against pathogens. \"This portal will strengthen not only the nation's security

Published by Public Relations, June 25, 2003