Skip to Content.
Sympa Menu

i2-news - Major Grant Enables New Information Technology Applications in the Life Sciences at Indiana University

Subject: News for and about the Internet2 community

List archive

Major Grant Enables New Information Technology Applications in the Life Sciences at Indiana University

Chronological Thread 
  • From: "Fitzpatrick, Christine Y" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: Major Grant Enables New Information Technology Applications in the Life Sciences at Indiana University
  • Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 12:33:31 -0500

December 16, 2004 - BLOOMINGTON, IND. Indiana University and the Lilly
Endowment, Inc. today announced that the Lilly Endowment, Inc., is
awarding IU Bloomington $53 million to establish the Indiana
Metabolomics and Cytomics (METACyt) Initiative. The grant is the largest
IU Bloomington has ever received.

A centerpiece of this initiative will be the development at IU of new
IT-based research in the life sciences through a major expansion and
enhancement of the University's information technology facilities and

Metabolomics is the study of the metabolic processes of living systems -
the outcome of protein function - and cytomics is the study of cell
molecular functions in general. The Indiana METACyt Initiative builds
upon the foundation of genomics and proteomics, and will move scientists
at Indiana University ever closer to achieving the grand dream of an
integrated understanding of the complete function of living organisms,
from single-celled microbes to human beings. Such an understanding will
be most profound when it is possible to predict how living organisms
will react to new drugs before laboratory experiments are conducted.

A thorough understanding the function of living cells, the fundamental
building blocks of life, can only be accomplished through the creation
of computer models dramatically better and more detailed than any in
existence today. The advancement of biological theory and improvements
in computer models of biological functions are now inextricably

IU Vice President for Research and for Information Technology Michael
McRobbie, who led the development of the Indiana METACyt Initiative,
said, "This initiative builds upon Indiana University Bloomington's
longstanding excellence in life sciences research and information
technology. A key goal of METACyt is to enable its scientists to perform
massive new computer simulations and analyses not presently possible."

The grant will enable a major expansion and enhancement of IU's
supercomputer, storage and networking facilities to support the massive
computational and data storage requirements of modern life sciences

It will also fund a new center, the Center for Computational Cytomics.
Peter Cherbas, co-Director of the Center for Computational Cytomics,
said "As a biologist, information technology is an essential tool for
research in the life sciences. METACyt will enable us to make this tool
ever better and more accessible at IU to a large community of life
sciences researchers, and will substantially accelerate research

Craig Stewart, co-Director for the Center for Computational Cytomics and
the information architect of the Indiana METACyt Initiative, noted that,
"Data is key to modern life science research - the ability to process
it, store it and move it between labs, between campuses, and across the
nation and the world. A key component in leadership in the life sciences
is leadership in IT infrastructure and this grant will ensure that IU's
stays among the best in the nation."

IU has recently been awarded funding to connect its advanced IT
facilities to the TeraGrid, the NSF funded effort to create a national
cyberinfrastructure. Computing in the life sciences is a key element of
this effort, and some of the new facilities of the Indiana METACyt
Initiative are expected to be integrated into the TeraGrid. IU's
operation of the Network Operations Centers for Abilene/Internet2 and
the National Lambda Rail, the nation's leading research and education
networks, places IU in an ideal position to play a leading role in the
development of cyberinfrastructure for the life sciences.

One of the Indiana METACyt Initiative's goals is to ensure life sciences
discoveries result in a full range of scientific, educational and
related economic benefits for the State of Indiana. To that end, the
Indiana METACyt Initiative will attract top research talent from around
the world, spur innovation and intellectual property development, and
drive an increase in research income from federal agencies such as the
National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

About Indiana University

Indiana University ( is one of the oldest state
universities in the Midwest, and also one of the largest universities in
the United States, with more than 110,000 students, faculty and staff on
eight campuses. Indiana University has a growing national and
international reputation in the areas of information technology (IT) and
advanced networking. IU's extensive IT environment is comprised of high
performance computing resources, facilities for massive data storage,
and advanced visualization laboratories that enable leading scientists
to visualize, analyze and store vast amounts of data and information.

IU's supercomputing facilities include a 2 TeraFLOPS Linux cluster from
IBM (a TeraFLOPS = 1 trillion mathematical operations per second), a 1
TFLOPS IBM SP, and a database complex of Sun systems. IU also operates a
massive data storage system based on the High Performance Storage
System, with a total capacity of roughly 2.4 PetaBytes (A PetaByte is
one thousand trillion bytes - well over one million CDs worth of data).
IU's advanced IT infrastructure within the State is built upon the
I-Light network (, a pathbreaking network owned and
operated by Indiana and Purdue Universities. This network enables
systems and storage to be distributed between the IU campuses in
Bloomington and Indianapolis, thus ensuring that data stored in IU
systems will be preserved reliably even in case of disaster.

Indiana University has leveraged its HPC resources and its advanced
networking infrastructure to become one of nine partner institutions
creating and operating the TeraGrid ( The TeraGrid is
the National Science Foundation's flagship effort to create a national
cyberinfrastructure of advanced instruments, high performance computing
systems, massive data storage systems, and visualization environments
all linked together by high speed networks. Indiana University computer
scientists are leading important efforts to create the software that
will make the TeraGrid accessible to a large portion of the scientific

Indiana University provides Network Operations Services to the
Abilene/Internet2, the National Lambda Rail and a number of
international and other networks.

For additional information, see the University's announcement at

Angela Quick, Senior Communications Specialist University Information
Technology Services
(812) 856-3972
(317) 278-1042


  • Major Grant Enables New Information Technology Applications in the Life Sciences at Indiana University, Fitzpatrick, Christine Y, 12/16/2004

Archive powered by MHonArc 2.6.16.

Top of Page