The wealth of data now available to biomedical researchers is increasing rapidly, due in large part to the development of new technologies for high-throughput data acquisition. These technologies now make it possible to determine gene sequences; measure the complement of genes and proteins expressed in cells and/or tissues; map protein-protein interactions under a wide range of experimental and disease conditions; and obtain functional imagery at the cell, tissue, and organ levels.
The challenge of the coming decade will be how best to use these multi-scale data to gain a quantitative understanding of the “systems” biology of human disease and to enable the identification of biological markers correlating with different disease states and inter-individual differences in risk.
The new Institute for Computational Medicine (ICM) established at Johns Hopkins will address this challenge. Its mission is to develop quantitative approaches for understanding the mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of disease through applications of mathematics, engineering, and computer science. The ICM will bring together researchers in such areas as:
- modeling of biological systems and disease mechanisms;
- characterization of changes in anatomic shape and function in health versus disease; and
- discovery of accurate, sensitive and specific disease biomarkers.
The ICM will be located in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Building, scheduled to open in spring 2007. Its faculty, including new researchers who will be hired within the Whiting School of Engineering, will conduct research in each of these three areas. ICM’s director, Raimond L. Winslow, is also director of the Center for Cardiovascular Bioinformatics and Modeling as well as associate director of the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Visit the Institute for Computational Medicine at www.icm.jhu.edu.