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NIGMS funds Center for Quantitative Biology

To probe the complexities of living systems, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has established its fifth Center of Excellence in Complex Biomedical Systems Research. The new center, headed by David Botstein, Ph.D., at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., will explore how biological molecules interact with each other and their environment to create dynamic systems.

NIGMS will award $3 million to the center this year and expects the project to total $14.8 million over 5 years.

Central to the effort is the integration of multidisciplinary research and teaching. In addition to bringing together 40 scientists from physical, computational and biological science fields, the center will establish a new undergraduate and graduate curriculum at Princeton that focuses on quantitative biology and collaborative research.

"The most challenging problems in biology are best tackled by combining the expertise of researchers from diverse backgrounds," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH director. "Through its multidisciplinary collaboration and curriculum, this center will not only yield new insights about complex biological processes, it will also train the research leaders of tomorrow."

Called the Center for Quantitative Biology, the effort will focus on three key biological questions: how body patterns are established during an organism's early development, how cells control their internal functions and communicate with each other, and how viruses interact with host cells. The researchers will use state-of-the-art microscopes and imaging tools to examine molecules in living cells and tissues. They will also create gene chips to study the activities of genes from viruses, bacteria, yeast, mice, rats and humans.

A key feature of the project is the use of advanced computational methods to model complex biological systems based o
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Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek
alisa.machalek@nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
31-Aug-2004


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