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TACC's Commitment to Texas Life Sciences Researchers

Employee spotlight: Oscar Jiao

On May 14, Dian "Oscar" Jiao joined TACC's Life Sciences Computing Group to serve as liaison and lead collaborator for scientists, researchers, and clinicians based in the greater Houston and Galveston areas at UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, UT Heath, and UT Medical Branch. Funded by the UT System, the University of Texas Research Cyberinfrastructure (UTRC) project provides a strong foundation for advances in current and future research efforts across UT System. With the resources of the UTRC project and TACC at his disposal, Oscar will help expand life sciences computing, including computational biology and biomedical computing, in the nation's fourth largest city.

Over the past 100 years, the Houston economy has reinvented itself to address the needs of one emerging industry after another – cotton, oil, and energy. Today, Houston's vast medical and biotech industries comprise over 160 biotechnology firms and dozens of institutions in the Texas Medical Center. Together, these organizations are generating tremendous economic development in the city and producing important scientific insights that will help improve the quality of our lives.

Much progress in research and translational medicine has been enabled by the development of technologies like clinical genome sequencing, advanced medical imaging, and proteomics. These new approaches create massive, complex data sets that absolutely require advanced computing support to extract biological and clinical meaning. Just as hardware plays a crucial role in discovery, "brainware" — in the form of knowledgeable bioinformatics experts — is also invaluable and in short supply.

An alumnus of UT Austin, Oscar joins TACC from Sandia National Laboratories where he worked on bioinformatics database development, drug discovery, and ligand-protein binding projects. In Houston, he will help build and extend relationships between TACC and researchers who are working on computationally-intensive biological and biomedical problems. In doing so, Oscar will help TACC establish collaborative relationships to support and expand the great work already in progress by Houston-area life science researchers.

To find out about all of TACC's Life Science Computing initiatives, visit our project page and see how TACC is powering discoveries in the life sciences that are changing the world.