June 3, 2011–In an effort to challenge the life sciences community to create more informative and accessible ways to look at the wealth of genomic and other life science data, Illumina launched the iDEA (Illumina Data Excellence Award) Challenge.

Blake Meyers’ group accepted the challenge and submitted an entry based on their long-standing set of web-based analysis tools (http://mpss.udel.edu). These tools have been developed over nearly ten years, and include novel genome browsers, applications and many internal data handling systems, all customized for Illumina’s SBS data. The Meyers lab specializes in handling plant transcriptional data, but have diversified their systems to include a range of data types. Their entry has been selected as one of the finalists and they now have the opportunity to compete for the grand prize of a $50,000 grant to be used for continued development of the entry idea. Each finalist team will have a representative provide a 20 minute presentation on their entry at the iDEA Conference. Determination of the award winners will be made after all finalist presentations have been completed.

Dr. Meyers is the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor and he is the department chair in the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences; he also serves as a CBCB-affiliated faculty member. His research emphasizes novel approaches and applications of bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing to plant genomics. The selection as a finalist in this competition recognizes the excellent work by Meyers and his team of programmers and bioinformaticians.

Article by Katie Lakofsky