National Bioinformatics Resource Center to support infectious disease research

Blacksburg, Va. The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech and its partners have been awarded a five-year, $10.3 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The purpose of this contract is to establish a national Bioinformatics Resource Center (BRC) that consists of a multi-organism relational database in support of infectious disease research, especially as it affects biodefense and emerging infectious diseases.

VBI's BRC will focus on Brucella (causes Brucellosis in cattle, pigs, and humans), Caliciviruses (causes many of the viral dysenteries on cruise ships), hepatitis A, Rabiesvirus, Coxiella burnetii/Rickettsias (which cause Q fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and typhus).

VBI is the lead research group with collaborators at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech's Department of Computer Science, Loyola University Medical School, the University of Maryland, and Social and Scientific Systems Inc.

"The BRC will allow researchers throughout the world to access, analyze, and study molecular data for these infectious diseases as interoperable components to support biological synthesis," said VBI professor and Director Bruno Sobral. Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense-funded ToolBus/PathPort (Pathogen Portal) project at VBI directly addresses data and tool interoperation for infectious disease research communities and has already been leveraged on behalf of other contracts, such as the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. It will now play a crucial enabling role in the BRC's mission.

VBI's BRC will contain high-quality curated data and relevant tools to enable and facilitate researchers' analytical and visualization needs. Researchers will be able to store, view, display, query, annotate, and analyze genomic an

Contact: Susan Bland
Virginia Tech

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