Experts gather in Chattanooga for computational biology summit

Experts gather in Chattanooga for computational biology summit

February 7th, 2011 by Emily Bregel in Local - Breaking News

Leaders in the field of computational biology and biomedical technology gathered today in Chattanooga for a summit on the future of high-tech medical research in the Scenic City.

The conference, held today at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's University Center, was sponsored by new medical research company Chattanooga Research Institute, or CRI. Speakers hailed from top-tier institutions like the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of California, San Diego.

The company's co-founder, neuroscientist Justin Boyd, is hoping to raise $6.25 million to fund CRI's first three years in operation.

CRI would harness the power of computational biology to analyze huge stores of already-existing medical and genetic data - from both hospital and academic settings - which could hold the key to more cost-efficient and effective drug development, Boyd said.

Supporters of the Chattanooga Research Institute say Chattanooga has the technology, expertise and medical resources to be a hub for computational biology-based research.

With a nearby super-computer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UTC's SimCenter, a supportive research community and city leaders embracing this research vision, Chattanooga could lead the way in computational biology, said Cony D'Cruz, chief business officer for biotech company Proteros Biostructures and one of the convention speakers.

"People don't quite understand how important it is," D'Cruz said. Chattanooga could be at the "forefront of the convergence between the information, the infrastructure, and being able to do something useful with it. That's a beautiful thing."

For complete details see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.