Computational Biology Initiative

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The EBS Computational Biology Initiative played a critical role university-wide in the establishemt of the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (CCMB) in 2005, which led to the subsequent establishment of the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinforamtics in 2012. CCMB still operates within the Department.  This Center is responsible for the Bioinformatics Graduate Program, offering both Ph.D. and M.S. degrees.  From 2005 to 2012, the CCMB was the home for the NIH Roadmap National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics (NCIBI), one of eight NIH National Centers for Biomedical Computing.  The National Center brought together computer scientists and engineers, mathematicians, and statisticians with biologists, chemists, and biomedical investigators.  It generates new informatics tools and algorithms, and explores systems biology studies of cancer progression, diabetic complications, and heterogeneity of diabetes and of bipolar depression, among other application.  In 2012, the NCIBI transformed into the tranSMART Foundation which provides the widely used tranSMART data sharing and computing platform to support basic and clinical research.  The EBS Computational Biology Initiative was also instrumental in developing the Medical School Bioinformatics Core, with consultative services and specialized infrastructure expertise.  By 2013, CCMB has grown to over 120 faculty affiliates, with half from the Medical School and half from the rest of the university.

EBS collaborated with CCMB to create the EBS Computational Biology Initiative.  The aim was to increase our strength in multi-scalar modeling of intracellular pathways and physiological processes to guide EBS faculty and students in data mining and model building to enhance their experimental protocols and interpretations of results. 
The CB Initiative had three elements:

  • Recruitment of faculty for a primary appointment in an EBS department or unit, affiliated with CCMB.  An announcement was placed in Science 1 December 2006, inviting applicants for three positions.  Three such positions were filled, and the faculty members recrutied have established successful careers affiliated with DCMB and CCMB.  This support of the EBS-CBI was critical in helping bridge CCMB into departmental status.
  • Enhanced funding for the CCMB Pilot Grant Program, with specific encouragement of participation of EBS investigators.  Over 10 Pilot awards were funded, receiving partial support from the EBS-CBI.
  • Targeted support from the Bioinformatics Core for EBS investigators.  

The EBS-CB Initiative helped to enhance other EBS initiatives, specifically the Genetics and Genomics,  the  Host Pathogen, and the Protein Structure/Dynamics/Design Intitiative. The EBS-CBI also helped to enhance the  EBS-supported Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center (MMOC), and the Brehm Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research and Analysis.