Travis Glenn, professor of environmental health science in the College of Public Health, has been appointed the new director of the university’s Institute of Bioinformatics. Taking over Jan. 1, Glenn said he is honored to step into this new role and eager to see what lies ahead for IOB in the coming months.
“The future of bioinformatics and computational biology is strong at UGA,” Glenn said. “There is an ever-growing need for faculty and students to be able to manipulate and analyze large datasets.”
Glenn, whose research areas include comparative and environmental genomics, molecular ecology, infectious disease and vectors, has already established a set of goals for the institute.
“First, I would like to expand partnerships across UGA, including the Georgia Informatics Institute, Health Informatics Institute and other interdisciplinary programs,” Glenn said. “Second, we need to enhance training and outreach at UGA via workshops, short and modularized courses, training cohorts, and undergraduate and graduate programs. Finally, I would love to expand research productivity by facilitating partnerships, training, shared resources and recruitment of qualified students and faculty.”
Established in 2002, IOB emerged from a recognition that all life sciences and biotechnology investigators were analyzing vast quantities of data. It has facilitated cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in bioinformatics and computational biology and their applications. The importance of a program like IOB is not lost on Glenn.
“The IOB fosters a community at UGA for all who use computational tools to solve biological problems,” he said. “We advocate for shared resources and interdisciplinary research, teaching and programs. We facilitate coordination and coherence to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with and for the bioinformatics community at UGA.”
“Advancing technologies in ‘omics’ fields and other areas have produced a deluge of biological data, making the field of bioinformatics indispensable,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “Thanks to the vision of its previous leaders, Ying Xu and Jessie Kissinger, the Institute of Bioinformatics is facilitating studies from plants to animals, including humans, and providing the next generation of life scientists with the necessary skills. I am confident that Travis will continue in their footsteps and provide outstanding leadership for the IOB, a point of pride for UGA, for many years to come.”