Sun Microsystems, which has had a long history of furthering research and development in the Triangle, is now working with the North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium to further bioinformatics research.

Sun, the consortium, several universities and business partners collectively announced Tuesday a partnership to create the “Sun North Carolina Research Triangle Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.”

According to a statement, the Center of Excellence (COE) will include more than $6 million worth of computing hardware, software and services.

“Sun’s continued focus on higher education through or COE program is advancing critical academic research worldwide, by fostering collaboration between leading universities, research institutes and industry partners,” said Kim Jones, Sun’s vice president for global; education and research. “As the first virtual, multi-member COE, the Research Triangle Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology brings this collaboration to a higher level, providing students and researchers with the technological resources they need to advance on numerous fronts from academic growth to increased commerce, to scientific progress.”

The partnership is good news for the North Carolina consortium, which has an aggressive agenda, including the creation of one of the nation’s first high-performance grid computing networks. However, the group has not been able to secure any funding from the state’s General Assembly to date.

‘Sun Site’ part of RTP Internet history

Sun’s RTP history dates back to one of the Internet’s earliest, biggest and best web sites.

“Sun Site” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was named in part for the equipment Sun provided, set the stage for web and university sites for several years. Some of its earliest developers, such as Dykki Settle, went on to become entrepreneurs in the Triangle. Paul Jones helped create, “the public’s library.”

The new partnership includes Duke, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Supercomputing Center, Incellico and SAS.

“The North Carolina COE represents a creative partnership that was developed through the North Carolina Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium,” said Dr. Ken Tindall, the consortium president and senior vice president for science and business development at the NC Biotech Center. “This COE is based on strong science and a collaborative spirit among world-class universities, the NC Supercomputing Center, MCNC and industry innovators such as Incellico, SAS and Sun Microsystems.”

Duke, NCSU and UNC are pursing genomic research. MCNC and the Supercomputing Center are involved in the NC Biogrid project as part of the Bioinformatics consortium.

SAS and Incellico, a life science software company and a Sun partner, will commit software resources to the project. Incellico has developed a “Cell” knowledge management solution.

Sun is involved in more than 30 COEs worldwide, including the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. The Delaware Biotechnology Institute and the Beijing Genomics Institute.


NC Genomics and Bioinformatics Consortium: