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2014

$575,000 is awarded to LSU Shreveport Bioinformatics Researchers as part of the National Institutes of Health's Award to LSU Health Shreveport

Dr. Urška Cvek and Dr. Marjan Trutschl at LSU Shreveport (LSUS) will be contributing towards the research conducted as part of the Center for Molecular and Tumor Virology (CMTV) at LSU Health Shreveport, which was awarded a $4.82 million grant by National Institutes of Health for a five-year period. LSUS researchers will provide services in the Bioinformatics Core. The grant carries over $100,000 in much needed indirect funds for LSUS.  Dr. Dennis O'Callaghan, Boyd Professor and Head of Department of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, is the principal investigator on this sizable grant.

The reviewers agreed that "overall capabilities of the [Bioinformatics] Core are excellent and well-organized". Located in the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics (LABi) at LSUS, the Bioinformatics Core provides a collaborative research environment, promoting interaction between computational and biomedical scientists. Over the last five years, the Bioinformatics Core collaborated with CMTV researchers worldwide with projects spanning from cancer-related studies to the analysis of cardiomyocytes that exhibited a heartbeat motion in a petri dish. "Dr. Cvek and I enjoy working with our collaborators at CMTV. They are some of the brightest and nicest people that we have encountered in our professional lives. A pure joy to work with!" stated Dr. Trutschl.  

Additionally, Drs. Cvek and Trutschl are working closely on next-generation sequencing with Dr. Rona Scott and Ms. Paula Polk of CMTV's Genomics Core Facility, as well as Dr. Glenn Mills, Director of the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. "We are grateful for this award and at the same time excited about the opportunities the funding will continue to bring to LSUS, LSU Health Shreveport, the city, and Louisiana as a whole. It is a token of recognition for the hard work of so many at LSUS and LSU Health Shreveport. It is also an acknowledgement of the efforts Urška and I put into building a state of the art research facility where students and faculty work shoulder-to-shoulder, making use of LABi's 500-processor supercomputer as well as thousands of processors available state-wide as part of the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative. Moreover, this grant provides our students with real-life experience, preparing them for careers in the exciting, top paying, and highly sought after field of Computer Science. Currently, there are over 3,000 open computing jobs in Louisiana with predicted 1,000,000 unfilled computing jobs in the US by 2020. [http://code.org/promote/la]" said Dr. Trutschl. Activities at LABi enjoy strong support by the LSUS administration. "I am particularly pleased about the collaboration between LSUS and LSU Health Shreveport faculty and researchers. Biomedical research and education remain of great importance to northwest Louisiana," added Larry Clark, Chancellor of LSUS. "We are thankful to Dr. Paul Sisson, former Interim Chancellor and current Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Research for his support over the years. He embraced our idea of a major research laboratory dedicated to Bioinformatics in the Department of Computer Science more than a decade ago," added Dr. Cvek.  

This grant will strengthen already strong ties between the LABi and CMTV researchers. Dr. Larry Anderson, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, stated that "not only is this work important, but it represents another productive collaboration between LSU Health Shreveport and LSUS".  

Dr. Urška Cvek and Dr. Marjan Trutschl are members of the Department of Computer Science at LSU Shreveport where they head the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics (LABi). LABi represents the foundation of biomedical informatics activities at LSU Shreveport and provides an academic and research environment where faculty, researchers and students from a wide range of fields work shoulder-to-shoulder, solving real-life problems. The researchers at LABi are utilizing powerful computers (a.k.a., supercomputers) with the ultimate goal of turning complex and diverse data sets into valuable knowledge that enhances the understanding, prevention, and treatment of diseases. LABi is located in Technology Center on a beautiful LSUS campus. Visitors are always welcome.  

Professors Urška Cvek, Sc.D., MBA and Marjan Trutschl, Sc.D., can be contacted at ucvek@lsus.edu and/or mtrutsch@lsus.edu or by calling (318) 795-4266 and/or (318) 797-5131.  

Photo: Dr. Urška Cvek and Dr. Marjan Trutschl in front of computational clusters in the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics in the Department of Computer Science at LSUS. 

 
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