Philanthropist Lyda Hill has given UT Southwestern Medical Center a $25 million gift to go toward funding a new Department of Bioinformatics, which will develop a discipline to analyze broad data sets to better identify and treat disease.
Bioinformatics is increasingly thought to play an important role in how researchers develop personalized therapies to treat cancer and other diseases, which affect people in different ways. When it’s fully operational, the new department at UT Southwestern has a goal of identifying patterns in the data sets that will illuminate more effective ways to battle disease.
Hill’s donation will help recruit faculty, improve its technology infrastructure, and pay for integrating bioinformatics experts inside existing research programs in different departments. Dr. Gaudenz Danuser, a professor of cell biology and the winner of the Patrick E. Haggerty Distinguished Chair in Basic Biomedical Science, will head the department. He joined the school in 2013 after directing research laboratories in Zurich and at the Scripps Research Institute outside of San Diego.
“By establishing the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics, UT Southwestern will significantly expand our existing expertise in this critical field,” said university president Dr. Daniel Podolsky.
The gift will be used in concert with a recent $5.59 million grant it won from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to go toward boosting its bioinformatics capability.