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University of Iowa News Release

June 19, 2003

UI Interdisciplinary Team Wins $3 Million Federal Contract

An interdisciplinary team involving faculty from the University of Iowa Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Public Health and Liberal Arts and Sciences has signed a four-year, $3 million contract with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help NHLBI-funded scientists at the UI better advance their work and train UI researchers.

The contract will establish a Shared Microarray Facility -- collections of human, mouse and rat DNA of great value in research -- by expanding upon the existing microarray hybridization core in the laboratory of Dr. Bento Soares, professor of pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and contract principal investigator.

Thomas Casavant, professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, and director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB), a joint enterprise of the University of Iowa College of Engineering and the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, says that the project will advance interdisciplinary research in such fields as congenital heart disease, cardiovascular disease, impaired human airways and cystic fibrosis. This grant will also build upon the resources of the College of Medicine's DNA Core Facility, directed by Kevin Knudtson.

The CBCB is a high-performance computational and informational resource uniquely designed to help researchers learn about the molecular and genetic bases of human disease. In addition, the CBCB works to facilitate development of 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 includes researchers from the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Health, Business, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and the Graduate College. Also, the CBCB cooperates 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 numerous existing efforts in the fledgling area of bioinformatics, 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 attracted more than $35 million in external funding to the UI.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu.