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Virginia Bioinformatics Institute appoints scientific advisory board


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 19, 2007 – The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech has announced the appointment of six members to its newly formed scientific advisory board.

Members of the board, which include scientific leaders in fields such as high-performance computing, biology, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology/engineering, will serve as scientific advisors for the Institute, providing regular external reviews of research strengths as well as guidance on new strategic scientific initiatives and funding opportunities.

The board members are:

  • William J. Feiereisen, division leader, Computer and Computational Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Feiereisen brings extensive experience in computational fluid dynamics, high-performance computing and mission-oriented projects.
  • William Gelbart, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University; head of FlyBase, a widely used database of the Drosophila genome. Gelbart’s research focuses on developmental genetics, particularly the molecular basis of cellular and developmental pathways in higher animals.
  • Paul Keim, senior investigator and director, Pathogen Genomics Division, Regents Professor of Biology, Northern Arizona University; Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology, Northern Arizona University. Keim and his research group develop molecular identification tools for public health-related pathogens, which cause widespread illness worldwide.
  • Richard W. Siegel, Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and director, Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center. Siegel’s research efforts focus on the nature and physical properties of defects in metals, atomic diffusion, and most recently on the synthesis and processing, characterization, and properties of nanostructured materials, nanocomposites and biomaterials.
  • Robert Walters, vice president for research, Virginia Tech, professor of aerospace and ocean engineering, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech. Walter’s research focuses on computational fluid dynamics and algorithm research. He currently serves on the Policy Board of VBI. Walters will be the policy board’s representative on the newly formed scientific advisory board.
  • Stephan Bieri, former chief executive officer and vice president of the board of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, will serve as chairman of the scientific advisory board. Bieri is the non-executive president of Next Consulting Group AG (Lucerne), SUP Holding AG, and DRM Inc. He also serves as a private consultant on various mandates.


“VBI is very excited to have such a distinguished group of scientific experts agree to serve on our scientific advisory board,” said Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Executive and Scientific Director Bruno Sobral. “They will provide us with strategic insight to build on VBI’s successes to date. We are confident that, with their direction and input, we can continue to pursue our goal of tapping the power of computing and life sciences to solve problems in the life sciences arena. We look forward to working closely with the scientific advisory board in the years ahead and benefiting from the expertise they will bring to our collaborative body of researchers at the Institute.”

In addition to their activities throughout the year, VBI’s scientific advisory board will meet in person annually at the institute’s faculty retreat and research symposium.