UNIConnect Donates Lab Management Software to GW's Computational Biology Institute

Keith Crandall, Director of the GW Computational Biology Institute
Keith Crandall, Director of the GW Computational Biology Institute
July 01, 2014

DNA sequencing and genetic data sharing have the potential to revolutionize health care, but oftentimes researchers and physicians have a difficult time managing and storing the enormous amounts of data that it creates.  In response to this and other challenging questions about “big data”, a buzzword used to describe a collection of data sets too large to be handled by regular software, GW established a Computational Biology Institute (CBI) at the Virginia Science and Engineering Campus in 2012. Computational Biology, explained Founding Director Dr. Keith Crandall, is an interdisciplinary field that involves the application of data-analysis approaches to biological systems through software development, computer simulation and mathematical modeling.

In July of 2013, GW’s CBI received a gift of innovative laboratory process management software platform for the life sciences from UNIConnect, L.C., a Utah-based software firm.  This software called UNIFlow, will be extremely helpful to researchers at CBI manage the complexity of processes and volumes of data in the realm of "omic” sciences -- genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.

According to Dr. Crandall “We expect this technology to enhance our ability to train students in informatics and ‘big data’ management, making them more productive and more employable upon graduation. This technology enhances our ability to collaborate with other research partners in the area and around the world to develop novel capabilities and effectively compete for new grant opportunities.”

UNIConnect founder William S. Harten said, “UNIConnect is honored to work with brilliant scientists and information technology professionals around the world. For our company, the gift and future collaboration with GW is a path to the future. We are excited and impressed by the creativity and innovative spirit of GW's CBI. We are eager to see what inspired CBI students will conceive."

Tom Russo, Assistant Vice President for Research in GW’s Office of Industry and Corporate Research sees this collaboration as a model for corporate and educational software strategic alignment. “Our students are exposed to the latest technologies in a real-world environment and our faculty is able to utilize cutting-edge resources to conduct their research”, he said.