Center of Excellence for Computational Drug Abuse Research (CDAR) is funded by NIDA

The NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has funded the Center of Excellence OF Computational Drug Abuse Research (CDAR) a total of $5.4 million for 5 years.

The overarching aim of the Center is to develop, implement, and enable the broad usage of computational technology (algorithms, methods, software, and tools) for enhancing the effectiveness of drug abuse research, both on a local level (by supporting ongoing funded projects at Pitt and CMU) and at the national level (via close cooperation with other labs including the other members of NIDA Centers Consortium). The Center is a collaborative led by Professors Xiang-Qun Xie of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Ivet Bahar of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Eric Xing of Carnegie Mellon University, Computer Science Department. Overall, the Center will strive to achieve the long-term goal of translating advances in computational chemistry, biology, and genomics toward the development of novel personalized drug abuse therapeutics.



Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our Department

DSC_0114The department celebrated 10 years of Computational and Systems Biology this past month at the Mansions on Fifth.

Computational biology was established as a research discipline at the University of Pittsburgh with the vision of the Senior Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Arthur S. Levine, who recruited Dr. Bahar to create a new Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in March 2001, which soon became a highly visible center. The creation of the Department of Computational Biology within the School of Medicine followed in October 2004, later becoming Computational and Systems Biology in 2010.

Thank you for helping us celebrate 10 years of research, education accomplishments, collaborations, hard work, and memorable events.

To view pictures of the event, click here.

CSB faculty on a $11 Million Big Data grant from the NIH

“The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Pittsburgh an $11 million, four-year grant to lead a Big Data to Knowledge Center of Excellence, an initiative that will help scientists capitalize more fully on large amounts of available data and to make data science a more prominent component of biomedical research.”

Two of our faculty, Dr. Ivet Bahar and Dr. Jeremy Berg, are co-PIs along with Dr. Gregory Cooper, professor and vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Pitt School of Medicine and director of the new Center for Causal Modeling and Discovery – a center that will be addressing the challenges of Big Data in biomedicine.

Dr. Cooper said, “Our goal is to make it much easier for researchers to analyze big data to discover causal relationships in biomedicine.”

“As part of a national consortium, this Center of Excellence will put Pitt on the map as a home of Big Data science,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine.

“The good news is that we have so much data. But the bad news is that we have so much data,” Dr. Berg said. “Our challenge is to find strategies that enable us to sort through all this collected information efficiently and effectively to find meaningful relationships that lead us to new insights in health and disease.”

This center is a collaboration of researchers at Pitt, CMU, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and Yale University, and will develop and disseminate tools that can find causal links in very large and complex biomedical data.

Dr. Bahar says, “The center also will be a training ground for the next generation of data scientists who will advance and accelerate the development and broader use of Big Data science models and methods. We will create new educational materials as well as workshops and online tutorials to facilitate the use of causal modeling and discovery algorithms by the broader scientific community and to enable efficient translation of knowledge between basic biological and applied biomedical sciences.”

See the NIH award announcement:

CSB Faculty involved in this grant include:

Principal Investigators: Ivet Bahar & Jeremy Berg

Co- Investigator and Leader of Lung DBP: Takis Benos

Other Co-Investigators:
Joseph Ayoob
Chakra Chennubhotla
Nathan Clark
Maria Chikina


UPMC/University of Pittsburgh. Schools of the Health Sciences. Pitt Gets $11 Million from NIH to Lead Center of Excellence in National Big Data Research Consortium. Media Relations. UPMC, 9 Oct. 2014. Web. <>.