New research software to simulate biochemical processes

BLACKSBURG, Va. Dec. 20, 2000 --- Bioinformatics experts from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (USA) and the European Media Laboratory (Germany) have joined forces to develop a software for simulating biochemical networks.

In the international bioinformatics market, cooperation is better than competition. That is the conviction of two young research institutes from the United States and Germany: the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and the European Media Laboratory (EML), Heidelberg. At the moment, they are working on a software package for simulating and analyzing biochemical networks.

The transatlantic project goes by the name of COPASI (COmplex PAthway SImulator) and marshals a powerful arsenal of simulation and analysis methods, putting it ahead of comparable research programs available at present.

According to Pedro Mendes (VBI), the person heading the COPASI project along with Ursula Kummer (EML), the new software will enable experimental biochemists around the world to simulate complex metabolic processes in cells without taking the time to master the enormous mathematical and computing skills currently required. "This is a software, but it is really like a new technology," said Mendes. "I dont need to know how an electron microscope works in order to use one. This software will open the door to thousands of new research possibilities that will greatly expand our knowledge of the cellular process.

According to Bruno Sobral, director of VBI, "the future of biology is intimately tied to computational modeling and simulation. This project will emphasize this approach, as well as start the establishment of VBI as an internationally recognized bioinformatics institute."

COPASI is based on software developed by Mendes and Kummer. There are good reasons for this close collaboration: the two young scientists have similar research approaches and the two institutions they represent both concentrate on research in

Contact: Pedro Mendes
Virginia Tech

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