Digital Biology Week: Building a national infrastructure for biomedical computing

BETHESDA, Md. -- How can scientists turn the vast amounts of data generated by the Human Genome Project into promising new medical treatments tailored to the individual? Will it ever be possible to develop computer simulations that accurately model the complex inner workings of the human brain and other vital organs? What are the scientific and technical roadblocks that researchers will need to overcome in order to achieve such goals?

These are just some of the key questions that top experts in biology, medicine, computer science, and other fields will be exploring during "Digital Biology Week," November 3 to 7, in Bethesda, Md. Leading biomedical and computational scientists will also lay the groundwork for building a national network of researchers whose common goal will be to harness the power of computers to solve today's most challenging problems in human health and disease.

The week kicks off on Monday, November 3, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with a workshop for scientists interested in applying for new federal funding establishing the first phase of this network, the NIH National Centers for Biomedical Computing (NCBC). Plans for the centers were unveiled last month as part of the new NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a far-reaching set of initiatives designed to speed the movement of research discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

Culminating the week is a major symposium, sponsored by the NIH Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI), titled "Digital Biology: the Emerging Paradigm," on Thursday and Friday, November 6 and 7. The symposium will offer a broad look at contemporary issues arising from the convergence of biomedical and computational research, according to the symposium's co-chairs, Richard Morris, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Karen Skinner, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The keynote speakers are Nobel laureate Sydney

Contact: Dan Hogan
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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