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Release: Oct. 24, 2002

UI Engineer Appointed To National Study Section

Thomas Casavant, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has been appointed a member of the Genome Study Section, Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a term effective immediately and ending June 30, 2005.

Study section members contribute to the national biomedical research effort by reviewing and making recommendations on grant applications submitted to NIH and surveying the status of research in their fields of science. Study section members are selected on the basis of contributions made to their scientific fields as shown by research, publications in scientific journals, and other scientific activities, achievements and honors.

Casavant, whose research interests include computational molecular biology, computer architecture, genetics and genomics, earned his bachelor's degree in computer science in 1982 from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Engineering in 1983 and 1986, respectively, before joining the UI faculty in 1989.

As director of the new Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB), he brings together researchers from nearly all UI colleges and disciplines to help medical researchers more efficiently investigate the genetic basis for such conditions as autism, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, cancer, and vision-related diseases.

An outgrowth of the College of Engineering's Coordinated Laboratory for Computational Genomics, the CBCB builds upon over seven years of collaboration between the Carver College of Medicine and the College of Engineering in applying computational science to the fields of genomics, genetics, molecular biology, and their applications for medical research. Such collaborations have investigated genotyping, genetic linkage analysis, gene mapping and other phenomena and have already attracted more than $35 million in external funding to the University
of Iowa.