Marshall advances in next generation sequencing and bioinformatics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964, ginny.painter@marshall.edu


Forum to highlight Marshall advances in

next generation sequencing and bioinformatics

Donald Primerano, Ph.D.HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Scientific researchers, computer scientists and engineers will gather next week at Marshall University for a forum to focus attention on Marshall’s research capabilities in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics.

The free forum, called “Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics,” will be held Thursday, Oct. 27, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in room 402 of the Drinko Library on Marshall’s Huntington campus. The program will include presentations about the university’s resources for advanced research in these cutting-edge scientific fields, current research projects under way on campus, and a discussion about what will be necessary to continue to build momentum.

According to event organizers, the scientific fields of molecular biology and genomics have undergone a spectacular transition over the past 20 years due to technological advances. Research studies have evolved from a single gene approach to genome-wide investigations that generate a massive amount of data to analyze. This change has led to development of bioinformatics – a research field that uses computer technology to help understand biological processes.

Over the past several years, Marshall has made a concerted effort to strategically build its capacity for this type of high-tech research. A new high-performance computing cluster has given Marshall students and faculty access to computing power, data and information previously available only to the most prestigious research institutions, and connection to the advanced Internet2® network that links the university with people, equipment and information at partner institutions around the world. Marshall is also the only institution in the state with a next generation sequencer, which allows scientists to sequence a genome faster and at lower cost than was possible with earlier methods.

Dr. Philippe Georgel, a professor of biological sciences in Marshall’s College of Science, will be helping to lead the forum. He said the university has made great strides recently.

“Marshall University is gathering momentum in terms of securing first-class equipment and building intellectual capabilities to develop competitive next generation sequencing capabilities,” Georgel said. “The decoding of the human genome has not only answered multiple biological questions, it has also opened new research avenues aimed at understanding how the expression of these thousands of genes can be coordinated.”

Another forum participant, Dr. Jim Denvir, assistant professor of bioinformatics and biostatistics at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, agreed, adding, “The acquisition of state-of-the-art genomic sequencing technology has positioned Marshall University to play a leading role in emerging avenues of biological research. These new research technologies reveal both exciting possibilities and big challenges across multiple-scientific disciplines.”

Organizers invite anyone with an interest in the topic to attend the forum. For more information or to register online, visit www.marshall.edu/cegas/ngsbf.

The forum is made possible in part by a National Science Foundation grant that funds “Cyberinfrastructure for Transformational Scientific Discovery in West Virginia and Arkansas (CI-TRAIN),” a partnership among eight higher education institutions in West Virginia and Arkansas.

JCE School of Medicine Faculty Present Research at the National IDeA Meeting

Every two years the National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE) meeting is held in Washington D.C. to bring together faculty, fellows and students that participate in the National Institutes of Health’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) programs. This year the NISBRE meeting was held June 25-27, 2012 at the Benja Lamyaithong Marshall INBRE studentOmni Shoreham Hotel and was attended by six faculty members from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University in the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) program, three from West Virginia University and one each from Bluefield State College, Concord College, West Virginia State University, West Virginia Wesleyan College and the University of Charleston. Several of the Marshall University faculty presented research during the meeting including Drs. Monica Valentovic, Nalini Santanam Nalini Santanam, Ph.D./M.P.H.and Travis Salisbury from the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology and Dr. Donald Primerano from the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. Also presenting research was Andre Benja Lamyaithong, an undergraduate student at Wheeling Jesuit University, who has been conducting research on antidotes for acetaminophen overdose with Dr. Valentovic for two summers as part of the West Virginia INBRE summer research program. Other JCE School of Medicine faculty members attending the meeting were: Dr. Jim Denvir, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, who co-authored the work with Dr. Primerano; and Dr. Gary Rankin, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, who is a member of the Executive Planning Committee for the NISBRE meeting. 

 

Monica Valentovic, Ph.D.Dr.Valentovic’s research on how a component of grapes and red wine (resveratrol) can reduce damage to the kidney caused by a commonly used drug (cisplatin) to treat cancer was presented in a regular research session and highlighted in a special session on clinical and translational research. In addition, Dr. Primerano’s research into the genetics of families with high blood cholesterol was highlighted in a special session on cardiovascular disease.

The IDeA program was started in 1993 to help increase the biomedical research competitiveness in states that receive only small amounts of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The IDeA program is composed of two award programs, one (Centers Of Biomedical Research Excellence; COBRE) that is designed to create centers with a biomedical research focus at larger research schools and a second program (INBRE) designed to build the biomedical research infrastructure at smaller colleges and universities and provide biomedical research training primarily to undergraduate students.Travis Salisbury, Ph.D. Currently, 23 states and Puerto Rico are eligible to compete for COBRE or INBRE grants. Marshall University was awarded an INBRE grant as the lead institution in 2004 with West Virginia University serving as a partner lead institution.  Dr. Gary Rankin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall University is the Principal Investigator for the WV-INBRE program.

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