Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIG) Program 

Chindo Hicks, Ph.D.
Program Director, Bioinformatics and Genomics Program, Department of Genetics 

Advances in genome sciences and genomic research are revolutionizing medicine and patient care. To further advance biomedical research and facilitate the realization of precision medicine, LSUHSC’s School of Medicine has launched the Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIG) Program. The mission of the program is “to conduct innovative research in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences to advance LSUHSC’s research, education and service missions. To improve human health, eliminate health disparities and contribute to the economic development of the State of Louisiana through scientific discoveries”. The program integrates six focal areas of research: Bioinformatics and Data sciences, Computational and population genomics, functional and evolutionary genomics, biomarker and drug discovery and repositioning, clinical and translation bioinformatics and genomics. 

As part of the LSUHSC-SOM research initiative, the BIG program is well positioned to become the southeast region’s center of excellence in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences research and education. The long-term goal is to position LSUHSC as a world leader in bioinformatics, genomics and data-driven medicine of the twenty-first century. Recognizing that research, education, and service in bioinformatics and genomics are inherently interdependent and mutually supportive, the program has the following strategic goals that address the dimensions of LSUHSC’s Core mission: 

Goal 1: Research – To be a recognized national and international leader in bioinformatics, genomic and data sciences research, leveraging and strengthening the multidisciplinary research faculty who are spread across multiple schools and Centers. 

Goal 2: Education – To educate and train the next generation of researchers and medical professionals. The program is accomplishing this goal by developing a total package of educational offerings in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences, including developments of graduate and outreach programs.  

Goal 3: Services – Develop a user-centered and COST-RECOVERY or SHARED COST Service Center. The Program has accomplished this goal by developing and establishing a Bioinformatics and Data Science Service Center to support faculty research efforts and grant applications.  

Goal 4: Infrastructure – To develop and maintain a scalable interoperable technical infrastructure that allows high performance and cloud computing for fast and efficient data analysis, modeling, visualization and integration of large-scale multiplatform and multiscale biological and clinical data. The program has already developed and deployed a powerful high-performance computing infrastructure with over 240 TB computing power and 10TB of RAM and 120 TB of data storage capacity.  

Goal 5: Collaboration – To foster research partnerships, integrating research programs across campus, promoting opportunities for collaboration with Centers, other LSU campuses, other universities and health organizations, and to expand regional, national, and international collaborative partnerships in biomedical research. The program has already established viable collaborations with the University of Alabama, Tulane University, the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Zambia, Mangosuthu University in South Africa and Nottingham in the United Kingdom. 

You can read more about the program’s research activities on the following website: https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/bioinformatics/ 

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