Navigation Links
UF receives $12.2 million to establish national network of scientists

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Imagine a Web site like Facebook, but instead of using it to share videos or post quizzes like "What '80s song are you?" scientists could scour a national network of researchers, only a few mouse clicks separating them from information needed for a scientific breakthrough.

That's the goal of a $12.2 million National Center for Research Resources grant awarded today to the University of Florida and collaborators at Cornell University, Indiana University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Washington University in St. Louis, the Scripps Research Institute and the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. The funding stems from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

During the next two years, researchers will implement a new type of networking system at the seven schools that eventually will link researchers across the country and world to like-minded peers and potential collaborators.

By making it easier for scientists to find each other, researchers will be able to improve their ongoing studies and forge collaborations that could lead to new discoveries, said Michael Conlon, interim director of biomedical informatics for UF and the principal investigator on the grant.

"The goal of the program is national networking of all scientists," Conlon said. "Scientists have problems finding each other. We often find that researchers have pretty good networks with students or with scientists at institutions where they received their degree or worked before. But they don't always know people even at their own institutions."

The new program will draw information about scientists from official, verifiable sources and make it available using a type of technology called the Semantic Web.

For example, information about researchers' positions will come from their employers and a listing of their published articles will come from the journals, while researchers will provide information regarding their interests. Although users will still view the information on what looks like regular Web pages, the software developed by Cornell researchers actually collects the facts a person wants and assembles its own page.

"The Semantic Web is a collection of facts, rather than pages. It is really for computers to search and find things and present them in a reasonable way," Conlon said. "It's a next-generation type concept."

The idea for a database of researchers first sprouted at UF when two librarians at UF's Marston Science Library proposed using Cornell's VIVO software at UF to help scientists better find research articles published by UF faculty members.

Touted as a research discovery tool, VIVO is open-source software that allows people to search all publicly known information about a specific topic or researcher in one site. On Cornell's VIVO site, a search for the word "cancer," for example, yields dozens of results, but they are broken up into categories like "people," "opportunities" and "topics." Clicking on "topics" takes one to another set of subgroups that allows searchers to more quickly find exactly what they want.

"I saw the power VIVO had to show the research coming out of an institution," said Valrie Davis, a UF outreach librarian for agricultural science who teamed with UF librarian Sara Russell Gonzalez to propose using VIVO at UF after seeing it presented at a conference. "VIVO is an open source tool to connect people with common research interests. It's going to link people together. I think that is the most important part of this grant."

The grant supports a National Institutes of Health goal to establish a national network of scientists. The NIH also wanted such a network to contain verifiable data. Using VIVO was a perfect fit, Conlon said.

"Five years of time, energy and imagination created VIVO, and now that work is paying off in ways we had only imagined before," said Anne R. Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell. "This major partnership enables us to extend the capabilities of all of our institutions and reach further than we would be able to alone. Creating strong connections between institutions is a fundamental building block in advancing the mission of 21st-century research libraries."

Initially, each institution involved in the grant will establish its own network of researchers. Librarians will implement the software and will offer support to researchers once they begin using it. Within two years, the team hopes to have the network connected across the country. Eventually, Conlon says the researchers would also like to broaden the scope of the project to include researchers around the world.

"We think this will have a huge multiplier effect and will allow researchers to find new partners and other ways to use their research," said Judith Russell, dean of the University Libraries at UF. "For years, librarians have helped researchers find the information they need. This is another type of critical information scientists need."


Contact: April Frawley Birdwel
University of Florida

Related biology news :

1. ERGONEX Pharma receives Frost & Sullivans European Orphan Diseases Entrepreneurial Company Award 2009
2. Chemist receives NIH New Innovator grant for genetic drug research
3. Miriam Hospital researcher receives more than $12 million to study weight control
4. Forsyth receives highly competitive challenge grants
5. UCSF scientist receives Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
6. University of Washington receives $25 million to create Northwest Genomics Center
7. Delaware State U. receives $5 million NASA grant for optics research
8. PyroHands: NC State receives grant to develop next generation firefighter gloves
9. Louisiana Tech University receives grant to advance women in engineering, science
10. WPI receives $1.3 million in federal awards for ongoing research in the life sciences
11. Synthetic Biology Project receives 2 National Science Foundation grants
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... offering. The report forecasts the ... at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market ... also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics ... Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows ... at the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net ... and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority ... as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use ... height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with ... in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Mass. , June 23, 2016   ... development of novel compounds designed to target cancer ... napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from ... the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction ... stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits a ... crime scene to track the criminal down. An ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly ... support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: