Institute News

In alignment with the University of Virginia’s goal to move its research from prominence to preeminence, deans, faculty, and researchers from across Grounds got together to participate in the formal launch of the Contagion Science program, an initiative funded by the University as part of its Prominence-to-Preeminence STEM initiative.

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Many aspects of the research enterprise are rapidly changing to be more open, accessible, and supportive of rapid-response investigations (e.g., understanding COVID-19) and large cross-national research that addresses complex challenges (e.g., supply chain issues). Around the globe, there have been aggressive responses to the need for a unified open research commons (ORC)—an interoperable collection of data and compute resources within both the public and private sectors that is easy to use and accessible to all. Many nations are positioning themselves to be scientifically competitive in the years to come. But the US is falling behind in the accessibility and connectedness of its research computing and data infrastructure, compromising competitiveness and leadership and limiting global science that could benefit from US contributions.

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Just one metric from the Virginia Department of Health and the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute shows every health district in the Commonwealth is in the middle of a "growth" or "surge" trajectory. This means there is no longer an area in Virginia, from a health district standpoint, where the trajectory is considered "declining."

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The Bacterial and Viral Bioinformatics Resource Center (BV-BRC), a beta website that launched in February, “is one-stop shopping for your bacterial or viral genomic research,” said Ron Kenyon, a senior scientist in the Network Systems Science and Advanced Computing division of UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute.

A research team from the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute was recognized with the UVA Provost’s Office Award for Collaborative Excellence in Public Service. As representatives of the Biocomplexity Institute’s COVID-19 Response Team, Jiangzhuo Chen, Bryan Lewis, and Srini Venkatramanan were recognized for their service to the University, the Commonwealth of Virginia and federal authorities during the pandemic, and which continues today.

COVID-19

The question on everyone's mind is whether the U.S. will have an easy, COVID-free spring, or if we're in for a resurgence in cases as the BA.2 variant of Omicron becomes dominant. Bryan Lewis, MPH, PhD, of the University of Virginia's Biocomplexity Institute, uses sequencing data and other information from COVID-19's past trajectory to model and project various scenarios for case rates, variants, and more.

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COVID-19

While sequencing efforts are better than before, experts say there's a long way to go. The only certain thing about the future of SARS-CoV-2 variants is that nothing is certain -- but researchers are doing their best to keep an eye out for the next troublesome variant, even in the face of numerous challenges.

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