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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2005 / 10 

Setubal named deputy director at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

October 18, 2005

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech has announced the appointment of João Setubal as the institute’s deputy director. As deputy director, Setubal will act on behalf of VBI’s executive and scientific director, Bruno Sobral, handling internal administrative functions, as well as scientific decision making.

“Dr. Setubal’s broad experience in computational biology, as well as his global understanding of the many projects underway at VBI, makes him ideally suited to serve as the institute’s deputy director,” said Sobral. “His support will be invaluable as we pursue our development path in the years ahead.”

Setubal’s research focuses on the development of computational tools for genome annotation and analysis. He has made significant contributions to the analysis of key bacterial genomes, including, for example, the genome of nature’s “natural genetic engineer” Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Setubal is also the co-principal investigator for VBI’s Pathosystems Resource Integration System (PATRIC).

PATRIC is one of eight Bioinformatics Resource Centers (BRC) in the United States established with the support of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. PATRIC is a web-based resource containing genomic information on a designated set of important viral and bacterial pathogens. The BRCs were created to facilitate a research community that would collect and share information vital to the development of new diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines.

Setubal received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1992. Before coming to VBI in 2004, he served as visiting research faculty in the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington from 2000-2001 and as an associate professor at the Institute of Computing at the University of Campinas in Brazil from 1992-2004. In addition to his appointment at VBI, Setubal is also an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering.

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech has a research platform centered on understanding the “disease triangle” of host-pathogen-environment interactions. With almost $49 million in extramural research funding awarded to date, VBI researchers are working on many human, crop, and animal diseases.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.