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Biocomplexity Institute News

Biocomplexity Institute Executive Director Christopher L. Barrett Honored with Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Biocomplexity

The University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute is pleased to announce Dr. Christopher L. Barrett, Executive Director of the Biocomplexity Institute and Professor of Computer Science, was honored with the first Distinguished Professorship in Biocomplexity, an endowed faculty appointment recently approved by the UVA Board of Visitors. The endowed distinguished professorship is one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on a UVA faculty member and signifies the individual has achieved the highest stature and exemplary accomplishment in a discipline or area of research.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Barrett at the helm of the Institute,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, UVA Executive Vice President and Provost. “He has distinguished himself nationally and internationally as an exemplary interdisciplinary computational scientist and biocomplexity researcher, and we look forward to what he and his team will accomplish here at UVA.”

Over the past 35 years, Barrett has been committed to creating interdisciplinary research and organizations grounded in computational and information sciences spanning mathematical, biological, psychological and social sciences. Barrett has conceived, founded and led large interdisciplinary complex systems research projects and organizations, established national and international technology programs, and co-founded organizations for federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, he founded and led the Decision Analysis Research Team at the Naval Air Development Center and later was a Member of the Scientific Staff and Technical Group Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he founded the Basic and Applied Simulation Science Group in the Computing and Computational Science Division. Barrett also was the Executive and Scientific Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech and its predecessor, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, which he co-founded and spearheaded its extensive transformation resulting in the Biocomplexity Institute. He has served in various advisory and collaborative scientific roles internationally, and has published more than 100 research articles exploring all aspects of large multiscale interaction systems.

Among Barrett’s most notable achievements are the successful development of some of the earliest detailed, large-scale, high-performance simulation systems for biological, social and decision sciences. In particular, Barrett developed distributed computing approaches for detailed agent-based simulation study of human mobility and transportation systems, interdependent infrastructure analysis, population-scale demand side micromodels, intelligent data fusion and control systems, and social epidemiology.

Throughout his career, Barrett has received recognition for his contributions. He received the 2012–2013 Jubilee Professorship in Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers University in Sweden and was invited to be a member of the 2010 Royal Colloquium for the King of Sweden. He was a distinguished international professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from 1997-1998. He has received Distinguished Research, Service, Entrepreneurial Achievement, Advisory, and Security Awards from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, U.S. Navy, Alliance for Transportation Research, and others.

Please join us in celebrating the beginning of a new and exciting endowed professorship in the Biocomplexity Institute, and congratulate Dr. Barrett for this outstanding honor.