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After the National Institutes of Health grew interested in bioinformatics, following breakthroughts in the 1990s, the National Centers for Biomedical Computing were created with the goal of advancing the field by a few leaps and bounds, because IT systems hadn’t quite caught up to molecular biology.
The nine centers were founded through the 2000s, and with the advent of new data processing and visualization tools, there's been "an explosion of knowledge" in biomedical research, said Brian Athey, from the University of Michigan Medical School’s National Center for Integrative Bio Informatics (NCIBI).
Now, as some of the bioinformatics centers wind down or merge with other research groups, the NCIBI is joining tranSMART, an international, open source consortium with funding from the European Union, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations.
Government Health IT talked with Athey about the evolution of bioinformatics, merging molecular data with clinical and EHR research and the vision for tranSMART.