Garner to Lead Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
News Oct 19, 2009
Harold "Skip" Garner has been named executive director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech. Garner joins VBI from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), where he was professor of Biochemistry and Internal Medicine and the Philip O'Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D.
Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology. Before coming to UTSW in 1994, Garner served as a senior staff scientist and founder of the Bioscience Division at General Atomics in San Diego.
"We are delighted to have someone of the caliber of Dr. Garner accept the challenge of leading VBI into its next phase of development," said Virginia Tech University Distinguished Professor Paul Knox, who chaired the search committee for the executive director position. "Dr. Garner impressed everyone with his enthusiasm and knowledge for VBI and has a clear vision of how to build upon the success of this internationally competitive research institute."
"I welcome Dr. Garner to VBI and Virginia Tech," said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. "He brings an impressive array of skills and experiences to the university at an exciting point in the growth of our research programs. I know he looks forward to the opportunities to build on VBI's scientific achievements, to strengthen collaborations with our colleges, to foster innovation throughout our campus, including in undergraduate research, and to embrace the research and education possibilities offered by the new Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute." Steger added, "Dr. Garner's expertise and fit with Virginia Tech's many innovative scientific programs will be a key asset moving forward."
Researchers at VBI are engaged in a wide range of scientific projects that span bioinformatics and systems biology to high-performance computing, complexity science, and policy and decision informatics.
Garner remarked, "VBI has an excellent track record of exploring the interface of biology, medicine and the physical sciences. The institute is in an ideal position to take advantage of the many exciting opportunities that are materializing in fields such as genetics, computational biology, and clinical research." He added: "VBI will continue to build on its strengths as one of the leading international institutes for informatics and infectious disease research."
Garner's current research focuses on three areas: applied computational biology; advanced instrumentation development; and genetics, genomics, and proteomics research that builds upon software findings and instrumentation capabilities. This includes research projects that focus on text mining and DNA microsatellite analysis.
Computers, like those that power self-driving cars, can be tricked into mistaking random scribbles for trains, fences and even school busses. People aren't supposed to be able to see how those images trip up computers but in a new study, Johns Hopkins University researchers show most people actually can.