July 05, 2012
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Delivers Training to Minority Institutions
PITTSBURGH, PA, July 3 — A training program of the National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing (NRBSC) at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has taken a unique pro-active role toward filling the gap in scientific training at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Since 2001, with funding from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, PSC’s MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) program has evolved from providing individual training in what was at first a newly emerging discipline, bioinformatics, to a focus on the development of curricula and research programs at partner universities.
“We’ve implemented a multi-disciplinary course in sequence-based bioinformatics at more than 10 universities,” says PSC scientist Hugh Nicholas, who directs the MARC program. As of 2011, with renewal of the program from NIH for five years, the effort of Nicholas and his PSC colleagues, Troy Wymore and Alex Ropelewski, in working with five partner MSIs — North Carolina AT & T; University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez; Johnson C. Smith University; Tennessee State University; and Jackson State University — is to build a concentration or minor in bioinformatics. This expanded outreach reflects dramatic changes in bioinformatics, a field that over the last few years has exploded, because of powerful new sequencing technologies, with data to be analyzed and opportunities to do important research.