Vol 6. Issue 6 / February 20, 2006

IBM and Scripps Research to Collaborate on Pandemic Research

IBM and The Scripps Research Institute have announced a collaborative initiative to conduct advanced research on pandemic viruses leveraging the industry-leading talent and technology from both organizations. 

The objective of "Project Check-mate" is to develop the means to anticipate, manage, and contain infectious diseases.

The Florida initiative will capitalize on Scripps Research's world class research in the areas of biochemical modeling and drug discovery and IBM's expertise in computational biology bio-patterning and supercomputing. The joint research team will exploit the use of IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer, the world's fastest supercomputer technology, and access to Scripps Research's new state-of-the-art biomedical research facility being established in Palm Beach County.

"This is a very exciting and timely collaboration between two of the finest institutions in our state" said Governor Jeb Bush.  "It is exactly the type of advanced research and talent we want to attract to the State of Florida."

"The U.S. Government and the international community have realized the magnitude and potential severity of pandemics," said Scripps Research President Richard A.  Lerner. "This will be an enormous arena for advanced research.  Having the opportunity to work with IBM's talent and technology makes possible the concept of modeling and simulating a virus with the ultimate goal of containment."

This combined team will have access to unparalleled resources from Scripps Research's network of scientists and to IBM Research's depth of expertise in bioinformatics, structural biology, life sciences research, functional genomics, systems biology, and medical informatics.  Check-mate will create a "collaboratory" in South Florida, to focus and accelerate the pace of discovery for advanced research of infectious diseases, such as avian influenza.

"This combination of talent and technology will provide powerful and unique innovation to better understand and pro-actively anticipate the behavior of these complex viruses," said Pete Martinez, IBM senior executive for South Florida and vice president, Business Consulting Services. 

IBM and Scripps Research have identified the initial research team for Project Check-mate. Ajay Royyuru, senior manager, IBM Computational Biology Center, will lead the IBM Research team. Nicholas Tsinoremas, director of informatics for Scripps Florida, will lead the Scripps Research team. Lerner will personally provide direction to the combined team, which will study the genetic variations of viruses and responses from the host immune system, as well as develoingp methodologies to anticipate and contain disease.

The first order for the team will be to define its key areas of research with the goal of impacting pandemic response at a national and global level. The following phase will build collaborations with leading experts from around the world to execute the research projects.  Finally, the team plans to work with government agencies and key enterprises on Check-mate findings and technologies. 

Work is expected to begin immediately.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu









"This is a very exciting and timely collaboration between two of the finest institutions in our state."

—Governor Jeb Bush