CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 31, 2002
New UI Center Signs Contract With Integrated DNA Technologies
The new Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB), a joint
enterprise of the University of Iowa College of Engineering and Carver College
of Medicine, has signed a three-year, $150,000 contract with Integrated DNA
Technologies, Inc. (IDT) of Coralville, Iowa to explore collaborative projects
that will help scientists to better perform laboratory work.
One project would involve designing a public "Window of Science"
web site offering a comprehensive set of resources to help lab molecular biology
and biochemistry researchers fully utilize information derived from the Human
Genome Project. Another project would develop computational methods for designing
more efficient and effective oligonucleotides, or reagents, used in many common
genomics lab settings.
Thomas Casavant, CBCB director and professor of electrical and computer
engineering and biomedical engineering. says that the purpose of the CBCB-IDT
agreement is to help researchers to achieve their scientific goals more rapidly
"The promise of the Genome Project is locked behind a door that can
only be opened with cooperation between computation experts and those engaged
in the design and deployment of biological and medical research experiments,"
Casavant says. "The teamwork that this grant represents is a model for
this type of cooperation."
Dr. Joe Walder, CEO of IDT says, "Researchers worldwide have only begun
to scratch the surface in deciphering genome project information. We see this
formal cooperation and collaboration between IDT and the CBCB as facilitating
basic and applied research in areas as diverse as treating disease, producing
new diagnostics and improving agriculture."
The CBCB is a high-performance computational and informational resource
uniquely designed to help researchers learn about the genetic basis of human
disease and other biomedical phenomena. In addition, the CBCB is working to
develop interdisciplinary programs of study to teach professionals the skills
of biomedical problem solving using modern computational methods. The center
is jointly administered by the UI College of Engineering and the Roy J. and
Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and supported by the Office of the Vice
President for Research. The center will include researchers from the Colleges
of Engineering, Medicine, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Health, Business,
Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and the Graduate College. Also, the CBCB will
work to cooperate with other units, including the UI Carver Center for Comparative
Genomics and the UI Center for Macular Degeneration and other research support
units such as Information Technology Services Research Technologies and the
Carver College of Medicine's DNA Core Facility.
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 the
use of applied computational science in 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.
IDT, with more than 300 employees, is a major force in advancing biomedical
research as both a supplier of custom oligonucleotides and a developer of
innovative new biotechnology. As a leading manufacturer of synthetic DNA/RNA,
IDT provides products to over 27,000 customers worldwide and has a strong
presence in both the academic and corporate marketplace. The company's research
division is committed to improving nucleic acid synthesis technology and developing
new applications for DNA and RNA based compounds. IDT's advanced synthesis
group combines expertise in chemistry, molecular biology, information systems
and engineering to produce and purify complex nucleic acids of all kinds.
IDT received its commercial start in the UI's business incubator, the Technology
Innovation Center (TIC), on the UI Oakdale Campus, and today is located near
major university, medical and research centers in Coralville, Iowa and with
offices in the Chicago area.