Bioinformatics, a relatively new scientific field, is at the intersection of biology, computer science and mathematics/statistics and represents a tremendous opportunity for Colleges and Universities to join a growing effort at the start. Unfortunately, one of the major impediments in establishing Bioinformatics programs is that there are very few faculty and staff trained in bioinformatics; in fact, given its inter-disciplinary nature, a successful bioinformatics program requires faculty from a number of departments to work towards a common goal.
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center staff scientists Dr. Hugh Nicholas, Dr. Troy Wymore and Alexander Ropelewski have decades of experience teaching bioinformatics techniques to researchers and have helped several universities establish Bioinformatics programs and courses on their campuses. In collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez Mendez of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Dr. Jaime Seguel and Dr. Ben Velez of The University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Dr. Alade Tokuta of North Carolina Central University, Dr. Satish Bhalla of Johnson C. Smith University, and Dr. Jimmy Torres Rodriguez from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, and with funding provided through the National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), a special technology transfer and outreach program has been developed to help start, assist and grow bioinformatics programs at minority serving institutions.
The primary aim of this technology transfer project is to increase minority participation in biomedical research through a broadly-based program assisting minority serving institutions with the development of Bioinformatics programs on their campuses.