Gifts to boost University of Chicago as hub for biomedical 'big data' | Computation Institute
"Two major gifts will build momentum behind the University of Chicago's leadership in biomedical computation by assembling experts in the field and furnishing them with the tools to use 'big data' to understand disease and solve today's health-related challenges. These two gifts will fund related projects that are central to a much larger plan at the University that includes multiple data-driven discovery programs to improve health and medical care. The gifts were announced at an April 8 gathering of local corporate leaders hosted by Margot and Tom Pritzker, chairman and CEO of The Pritzker Organization, at the Park Hyatt Chicago. Pritzker, a University board trustee, organized the dinner meeting to boost corporate awareness of big-data biomedical research and to discuss how this work could become a regional economic engine ... The Institute for Computational Biology and Medicine will bring together experts from many aspects of biology who are devoted to data-intensive biomedical discovery. Researchers in the institute will strive to invent new methods of extracting biomedical information from large, varied data sets. These data sources will allow them to generate fresh hypotheses about health and disease, the evolution of biological form and function, and the intricate relationship of organisms to each other and their environment. By enabling researchers to test these ideas through statistical analysis, computer modeling and simulation -- which are faster and more cost-effective than experimental testing -- the institute will accelerate the development of biomedical knowledge and, in the long run, transform the practice of medicine ... Working with Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago has the assets to become a biomedical big-data hub. Together, they have experts in human, statistical and evolutionary genetics. The Computation Institute has extensive experience with huge data sets and is moving into biomedical issues. Campus-based efforts such as the IGSB and the Conte Center use computational data-mining to understand genetic networks. Argonne is home to the Beagle, one of the world's most powerful computers devoted to biomedical research."