NIH News Advisory
National Institute of
General Medical Sciences

Friday, August 2, 2002

Alisa Machalek
(301) 496-7301

NIGMS Funds Complex Biomedical Systems Research Centers

To encourage computational approaches that will deepen understanding of biological processes, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences has established Centers of Excellence in Complex Biomedical Systems Research. NIGMS anticipates spending a total of $25.5 million over the course of five years to support the centers.

After decades of research, scientists have amassed a wealth of data on the characteristics and functions of individual biological molecules. The focus now is on investigating how these molecules interact. Central to this effort is modeling and predicting the behavior of complex biological systems, which draws on the expertise and approaches of quantitative scientists — including mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, and engineers — as well as those of biologists.

"NIGMS is excited about the opportunity to nurture the growth of this important new area of biomedicine," said Dr. Judith H. Greenberg, acting director of NIGMS. "We anticipate that the new centers will develop creative approaches to address significant biomedical problems by combining the expertise of outstanding scientists working across disciplinary boundaries. We also expect these centers to lead the way in training the next generation of researchers in computational biology."

The new NIGMS centers are designed to support the development of multi-investigator teams that can address biomedical complexity through research, training, workshops, symposia and other forms of outreach. The awards promote innovation and permit a larger scope of activity than would be possible via research grants to individual investigators.

Two new center awards, totaling $4.5 million for the first year of funding, were made to:

In addition, NIGMS will support three planning grants to lay the groundwork for future centers of excellence at:


NIGMS has recently developed several programs and initiatives in the area of complex biological systems. For a complete listing, see

For more information about NIGMS' Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, see

For more information on NIH's Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI), see

To schedule an interview with an NIGMS scientist involved in the Centers of Excellence in Complex Biomedical Systems Research Initiative, call the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.

Please fax clips to (301) 402-0224.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.