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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, August 21, 2000

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Wired Bio Gets Big Blue's Big Bucks
"IBM will join the life sciences love train by investing $100 million to develop technologies for the burgeoning field."

""One of the areas where IBM has always been lacking, from a business point of view, was really an effort in the life science area. And in fact they could dominate, given their strength," said Trevor Hawkins, co-director of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Sequencing Center in Walnut Creek, California.

In the post-human genome map era, the biggest challenge is bioinformatics -- which basically means figuring out how to use mountains of biological information to cure, diagnose, and prevent disease."
redux [07.31.00]
BioInform IBM to Invest $100M in Life Sciences; Unit to Link Computing and Biology
"IBM HAS announced plans to invest $100 million in its new life sciences unit, marking a major step in the company’s efforts to bridge the divide between biology and computational science.

“We see this as an important emerging growth market,” Caroline Kovac, vice president of IBM’s Life Science Solutions Software Group, said. “Over the next two and a half years we are going to put $100 million in business development in life sciences.”"

"IBM’s life science unit, which currently employs 40 people, will focus on four main areas: supercomputing, databases, knowledge management, and e-business for the life sciences. In 2000 at least, the unit expects to dedicate the lion’s share of its resources to bioinformatics."
redux [06.03.00]
Washinton Post IBM to Put Genetics on Fast Track
"Here is the plan: IBM scientists intend to spend five years building the fastest computer in the world, 500 times faster than anything in existence today. It will suck down every spare watt of electricity and throw off so much heat that engineers have bought a gas turbine the size of a jet engine to cool it.

The machine, dubbed Blue Gene, will be turned loose on a single problem. The computer will try to model the way a human protein folds into a particular shape that gives it unique biological properties. Obscure as it may sound, that kind of puzzle is at the heart of mankind's efforts to understand the nature of consciousness, the origins of sex, the causes of disease and many other mysteries."

redux [06.05.00]
BusinessWeek The Genome Gold Rush
"But for all the drama behind the unveiling of humanity's genetic code, the race marks a beginning, not an end. In fact, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are already drowning in a flood of genetic information, says Mihael Polymeropolous, vice-president for pharmacogenetics at Novartis. ''That's why this race for me is a little silly,'' he says. ''The real race is who will develop the tools to analyze the genome first.''"

"Another consequence of this flood of information is that the computer has become one of the most important tools in biology. Consider these experiments. You want to measure how each of tens of thousands of drugs affects every one of humanity's 34,000 to 120,000 genes and its 1 million proteins. Or you want to compare the sequences of thousands of unknown proteins with the 3 billion bits of DNA in the human genome. In each case, the amount of data to analyze is mind-boggling. ''We have reached a point where processing information is one of the major bottlenecks,'' says Sharon L. Nunes, senior researcher at the computational biology center at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center.

Once the information problem has been solved, scientists will be left with a wealth of possibilities. Having the full human genome sequence and all these new tools ''will keep researchers busy for a long time,'' says Vincent Dauciunas, head of strategic planning in the chemical analysis group at toolmaker Agilent. ''I call it the Full-Employment Act for the millennium.''"

redux [02.07.00] IBM Joins Group to Create Library of Genetic Markers
"IBM has pledged to contribute about $3 million to the SNP Consortium, a group dedicated to creating a public database of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) patterns, which can indicate whether individuals are predisposed to certain diseases. IBM will also develop software, computers, and services to be sold to pharmaceutical companies engaged in the study of SNP patterns."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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