State Chamber Receives Grant for Bioinformatics Center
Francis-Smith, Janice, THE JOURNAL RECORD
The State Chamber has received a $47,000 federal grant to develop a National Bioinformatics Collaboration Center in Oklahoma, which could create 40,000 new jobs.
Bioinformatics, one of the fastest-growing fields in the biological sciences, accelerates the research and development process by identifying patterns in research data. According to Business Week magazine, bioinformatics is projected to grow into a $43 billion industry by 2004.
However, the development of the industry is hampered by the inability of research centers, working with separate, incompatible databases, to freely exchange information.
Bioinformatics offers the opportunity to create sustainable, high- salaried jobs and wealth not seen since the days of the oil boom, said Rudy Alvarado, chairman of The State Chamber's board of directors.
The ability of scientists to intelligently convert research information into valuable knowledge has not kept pace with the exponential growth of biotechnology data, reads a report from The State Chamber. Biotechnology researchers are drowning in a logjam of data. To break the logjam, easy collaboration between scientists must occur.
The proposed center would allow scientists in Oklahoma and other states to share biotechnology research data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta awarded the grant to The State Chamber to develop a model for how the center would work.
The primary focus will be to develop 'digital collaboration software' to accelerate medical and agricultural research, according to The State Chamber's grant proposal. The clients of the Collaboration Center will be a consortium of publicly funded research centers, universities, government agencies and participating commercial firms.
Consortium members of the National Institute of Health, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Noble Foundation Inc. …