for the Bioinformatics Core Explosive growth in powerful bioinformatics tools and continued refinements in well-annotated databases have accelerated the acquisition of new knowledge about the myriad genetic and epigenetic determinants of infectious diseases and other diseases that cause untold human suffering. In this regard, big-data science holds the promise for personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory medicine to improve human health and prevent disease. Thus, the importance of sustaining the Bioinformatics Core cannot be overstated. During COBRE Phase II, the Bioinformatics Core placed a major emphasis on providing customized support and collaborative services, on developing new and improved bioinformatics tools, and on conducting intensive educational courses and hands-on training workshops. The Phase III COBRE objective of facilitating the transition of the Bioinformatics Core into a sustainable state- of-the-art core facility capable of supporting high-caliber research on new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, as well as other fields of scientific inquiry, will be achieved by (1) enhancing and streamlining core operations; (2) growing and diversifying the user base, capability, capacity and reach; and (3) strengthening the core infrastructure.
For Aim 1, needs assessments and user satisfaction surveys will be conducted to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of core operations at the core/user interface and user services.
For Aim 2, outreach and marketing activities will be expanded to other local academic institutions, biotech companies and hospitals beyond the UH System, and strong partnerships will be formed with similar cores located in other COBRE, INBRE and IDeA-CTR programs to further grow and diversify the core user base and to acquire new tools and techniques. And for Aim 3, institutionalization and phased-in business plans will be developed during the Phase III COBRE to draw on intramural and extramural sources for sustainability. It is envisioned that the Bioinformatics Core will achieve each of the above-stated specific aims. A strong commitment by the President of the UH System to fully support the Bioinformatics Core infrastructure, with professional positions and support staff, within the next five years is part of a larger strategic plan to institutionalize bioinformatics as one of the four principal pillars in the Division of Cyberinfrastructure. Thus, there is every reason to be optimistic that the Bioinformatics Core will be transformed into a system-wide bioinformatics resource to confront the challenges of big-data science.
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