Pitt, CMU, Supercomputing Center win grant for biomedical technology

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The National Institutes of Health have awarded a $9.3 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to establish a biomedical technology research center.

NIH funds dozens of these research centers to promote the application of cutting-edge medical technologies. Pitt and CMU have been frequent recipients of NIH grants, but this will be the first biomedical technology research center in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh center will develop computational tools for modeling and simulating biological systems from the tissue level down to the molecular level. NIH hopes the computer modeling this grant funds will lead to new treatments for nervous disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

Through their modeling, the researchers hope to identify the mechanisms responsible for signalling in the central nervous system and how they work.

"Our goal is to understand better how defective proteins affect the central nervous system," said Ivet Bahar, chair of the department of computational and systems biology at the Pitt School of Medicine, the principal investigator.

NIH made an earlier grant to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for computer modeling. This grant will fund a substantial expansion of those efforts, Ms. Bahar said.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center was established in 1986 as a collaboration of CMU, Pitt and the Westinghouse Electric Company.

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