The early home of recorded sound and the birthplace of technological innovations that changed the world, the City of Camden is establishing a new role for itself as a thriving center for the biosciences in the metro Philadelphia region and the State of New Jersey.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, anchors that growing reputation. Respected internationally for its research leadership, Rutgers University--Camden is producing definitive scholarship in such areas as computational and systems biology, stem cell research, and much more. A new initiative partnering Rutgers-Camden with major research institutes in the city will allow scientists from diverse disciplines to share knowledge and advance their explorations in innovative directions.
A key leader of this biotechnology movement is the Rutgers-Camden Center for Computational and Integrative Biology (CCIB), which researches biological systems using tools from traditional biomedical disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, psychology, and physics, and applies complex analysis methods from mathematics and computer science.
The CCIB will play a significant role in Camden's planned Integrative Biology and Genomic Medicine Institute (IBGMI), a collaborative $50 million facility planned by the State of New Jersey for Rutgers-Camden, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Cooper University Hospital. The IBMGI will stimulate basic research on the principles underlying the integrated functions of biological systems, including whole genomes or the systems for renewal and differentiation of stem cells, in order to fuel translational investigations leading to clinical advances.
Rutgers-Camden already is established as a leader in this cutting-edge approach. Recent research includes the development of a mathematical explanation for the benefits of white noise that could lead to major improvements in hearing aid technology and new insight in tracking cell-to-cell communication.
"Since the recent completion of the genome projects, biologists now have a 'parts list' and understand many of the details of the functions of the parts. It seems natural that the next step will be to try to understand how the individual parts cooperate in the action of the whole system. Since the parts are extremely numerous, it will take sophisticated computational techniques to analyze their interactions," says Joseph Martin, a professor of biology at Rutgers-Camden and acting director of the CCIB.
This new approach to bioscience research requires new programs to prepare the next generation of scientists and scholars. In 2008, Rutgers-Camden will launch a PhD degree in computational and integrative biology, which will train students from a variety of scientific backgrounds in the mathematical techniques needed to model biological systems. "The overall idea is that instead of studying the details of biological organization, we will take a new approach to study the overall actions of a system," says Martin.
A national center for bioscience research, Rutgers-Camden is respected widely for the original scholarship of its faculty researchers, who publish in top peer-reviewed journals. Recent papers have examined stochastic resonance; how noise can synchronize the activities of bacteria; and how thyroid hormones may be related to sleep. Most of this work is a collaboration among Rutgers computer scientists and biologists, a partnership that is the foundation of Rutgers-Camden's growing reputation in the biosciences.
Rutgers-Camden is working to help biotech innovations make their way to the marketplace. Through the Rutgers Camden Technology Campus, Inc., a business incubator that serves more than 50 clients in the Waterfront Technology Center at Camden, emerging businesses receive in-depth support and access to venture capital. Rutgers is working to build out wet lab space that will provide state-of-the-art incubation space for 18 biotech/life sciences businesses.
For more information about Rutgers University-Camden please visit www.camden.rutgers.edu.