History and Mission

The BioMolecular Engineering Research Center (BMERC) has two major research objectives:

    In meeting these objectives, the BMERC is continually developing new computer-assisted analytical approaches that address basic problems in molecular biology such as those noted above.

    The Center's support program provides DNA, RNA, and protein sequence databases and analysis tools on-line to a large local area community and to the larger research community via its anonymous FTP and gopher servers. The Center provides a distribution service of non-commercial software and support information for all developers, free of charge, to the scientific community as part of a larger dissemination program. In addition, the Center has provided support for a number of interdisciplinary meetings focused on the computational challenges arising in molecular biology.

    The Center's training program trains molecular biologists in statistics and computer methods, and educates engineers, biomathematicians and computer scientists in the contemporary computational problems in molecular biology. Research opportunities combining these disciplines are offered yearly to three or four postdoctoral fellows, and periodically to visiting scientists. The Center provides direct graduate training and on-line computer support to local laboratories. Currently, there are collaborative research projects underway with scientists at several universities both outside and within the greater Boston (MA) area.

    In April 1985, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a five year grant to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School to establish a molecular biology computer resource and research program, the Molecular Biology Computer Research Resource (MBCRR) under the direction of Temple F. Smith, Ph.D. In September 1991, the MBCRR was incorporated into a new computational biology center (BMERC) in the College of Engineering at Boston University (Boston, MA), which also includes the Molecular Engineering Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Charles DeLisi. The BMERC continues its work primarily through the support of federally-funded grants.