Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NIH Institute Creates New Division for Bioinformatics, Comp Bio

January 13th, 2012 / in policy, resources / by Erwin Gianchandani

NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announces reorganization (image courtesy NIH/NIGMS).The National Institute of General Medicine Sciences (NIGMS), an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supporting basic research and research training, announced earlier this month that it would establish two new divisions — including one focused on biomedical technology, bioinformatics, and computational biology — as part of a reorganization that includes the dissolution of the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) which has had a history of supporting scientific computing.

According to the announcement:

The new Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology administers research and research training in areas that join biology with the computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and physics. It includes programs of the former NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) along with NCRR biomedical technology programs. Former CBCB Director Karin Remington, Ph.D., is the division director.


“Great progress is often made at the intersections of scientific fields, and the Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology is well-positioned to facilitate just such advances,” [NIGMS Acting Director Judith H.] Greenberg noted.


The amount of money allocated to programs in the new divisions will not change as a result of the reorganization or transfer of NCRR programs. Most grants in the new divisions will continue to be managed by the same staff members.

And from the new division’s website (after the jump):

The Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology (BBCB) supports studies in and tools for understanding complex biological systems. The research and training it funds join biology with the computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and physics. The long-term goals of the division are to leverage data and technologies to answer fundamental questions about biology and to develop a more robust computing infrastructure for the biomedical research community. The division also defines NIGMS’ needs for database development and applications as well as for a broad spectrum of biomedical technologies, techniques and methodologies. It collaborates with other NIH components and Federal agencies in developing policies in these areas.


The division focuses on three main areas: biomedical technology, bioinformatics and computational biology. Contact names for these research areas are listed on the Contacts by Research Area page.


Biomedical Technology


In this program area, the division supports projects that are focused on research to discover, create and develop innovative technologies for biomedical research, specifically in high-performance computing, molecular imaging, structural biology and proteomics. It also supports biomedical technology research centers, a research network and grants for technology research and development.




Within the bioinformatics program, the division supports research to develop algorithms and tools for managing, visualizing and analyzing scientific data sets. This area within NIGMS identifies Institute needs for database development and creates opportunities for maintaining the most critical ones, and it encourages the adoption of software engineering best practices and rigorous statistical analyses in NIGMS-funded research.


Computational Biology


Grants in computational biology support research in modeling, such as the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), and systems biology, such as the National Centers for Systems Biology. Specifically, they foster systems biology approaches to study complex systems from the subcellular to physiological and population scales, the development of modeling and simulation tools across NIGMS mission areas and the advancement of methods for analyzing and disseminating computational models.

To learn more about the new division, check out the NIGMS reorganization announcement as well as the division website.

And if you are interested in submitting a proposal to the division — or to any NIH institute — be sure to consider the suggestions provided by NIGMS Program Director Peter Lyster on this Blog last summer.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

NIH Institute Creates New Division for Bioinformatics, Comp Bio