NIH creates Center for Quantitative Biology at Princeton

Aug. 31, 2004 5:57 p.m.

The National Institutes of Health has selected Princeton University as the home for a new research center devoted to using advanced computational methods to investigate complex biological systems.

The grant will provide $3 million in funding in the first year and is expected to total $14.8 million over five years. The multidisciplinary initiative, called the Center for Quantitative Biology, will be headed by David Botstein, director of Princeton's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics .

The center will focus on several fundamental research projects having to do with the early development of organisms, cell-to-cell communication and the interaction of viruses with their host cells. It also will pursue projects to aid science education in local schools. In addition, Botstein noted that the grant will provide "running support" for the broad mission of the genomics institute and help create critical infrastructure needed for analyzing complex biological questions.

"The grant goes a very long way to making much of our work possible," said Botstein. "It is not just a grant for the investigators named in the proposal. We intend for this center to raise the boats of all the researchers at Princeton who are interested in quantitative biology."

Serving as co-principal investigator with Botstein will be Jim Broach, a professor of molecular biology. Botstein and Broach, along with molecular biology professors Eric Wieschaus and Tom Shenk, will lead subprojects. The center involves a total of 22 faculty members from five departments, plus postdoctoral fellows and technical staff members.

"This grant will allow our scientists to pursue some of the most pressing and fundamental questions in biology," said President Shirley M. Tilghman, who was the founding director of the Lewis Sigler Institute. "The decision by the NIH to select Princeton reflects not only the high quality and vital nature of the work at our genomics institute, but also the terrific leadership that David Botstein has brought to the program."

For further details, see the news release from the National Institutes of Health.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601