VBI received funds to continue development of pathogen portal

Published 27 January 2006

Virginia-based lab receives funds to continue to develop bioterror tool that government experts like

The Defense Appropriations Bill for 2006, passed by the U.S. Senate in late-December, allocated $2.5 million in federal funds to continue a project started by Virginia Tech researchers working at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI). The research money would be used to expand an Internet tool — called Global Pathogen Portal, or PathPort — used to bring together information about harmful pathogens and translate it in a relatable way to scientists. The idea for the project came from requirements published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) about what information difficulties that the biomedical community faces and has been five years in the making. Lab officials said the Department of Defense had a vested interest in the project because the information tool can be used to combat bioterrorism and protect war fighters that might be exposed by harmful pathogens. These two uses are essentially one and the same.

VBI has been receiving federal funds for a while. In the last fiscal year it received $38.8 million from the federal government.

-see description of PathPort at VBI Web site; and more on VBI at organization Web site