Director Michael Rosenberg, Ph.D., announced the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity (CSBC) has officially become the Center for Biological Data Science (CBDS). “Our new name is more representative of the broad interdisciplinary nature of the unit and better parallels current and future trends in scientific branding,” states Rosenberg. CSBC was originally founded as a chartered center within VCU Life Sciences in 2001; over the course of two decades the focus of the center and discipline has shifted, leading to a disconnect between the original name and the center’s training and research activities.
CBDS provides an interdisciplinary research and training program focused on applying quantitative and computational discovery and data science to questions in areas such as genomics, proteomics, and evolutionary life sciences.
The new name is essentially unique in the educational community and reflects the emerging direction of the Center. It also places VCU and the Center in a stronger position to compete with similarly-structured educational entities for federal funding, as the name embodies target objectives of the National Institute of Health and National Science Foundation. CBDS will resonate with these and other agencies much more as the need for explanation of the unit’s name is no longer an issue.
The phrase “Biological Complexity” has confused both potential faculty and students given the degrees, curriculum, and research are more objectively focused on bioinformatics and biological data analysis. “Biological Data Science encompasses all of biology and the life sciences, not just the molecular or genetic sub disciplines. The unit’s new name will impact the quantity and quality of faculty recruited for research, graduate programs, and leadership roles in the Center,” said Rosenberg. “The name will also help VCU Life Sciences promote the Center to potential undergraduate and graduate students. As we expect to increase our student population to better train in STEM, a name change that is up-to-date and promotes inclusion was a top priority.”
The new name is timely and invitational, according to Rob Tombes, Vice Provost for Life Sciences and Research. “Biological Data Sciences reflects our mission to promote borderless educational and research opportunities and promote quantitative aspects of the Life Sciences.“