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Posted 02.02.06
 
 
   

'For All We Call Mizzou' Gift to Boost Bioinformatics

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A $1 million gift to the For All We Call Mizzou campaign will create new opportunities for students and support life-saving research at the University of Missouri-Columbia. MU alumnus Paul Shumaker and his wife, Dianne, made the gift to the MU College of Engineering bioinformatics program as part of the For All We Call Mizzou campaign.

"This gift demonstrates the effectiveness and generosity of MU's friends and alumni," said James Thompson, dean of the College of Engineering. "We will use this gift to not only provide scholarships to well-deserving students, but it also will help advance our knowledge in the medical fields and create an outlet to encourage collaboration among the best minds in the world."

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The gift will create the Shumaker Professorship of Bioinformatics in Computer Science. Chi-Ren Shyu, the professor named to the position, will use the gift to enhance his research. Currently, Shyu has created two databases of information that experts across the globe are already using.

The first database helps scientists identify proteins and the functions of certain proteins in a chain. Typically, a scientist may have to wait several days for this information. Now, with Shyu's database, researchers can find their answers in seconds. The second database is a medical image retrieval system that allows doctors to access a medical image, such as a CAT scan of a healthy lung, to help them in their diagnosis of a patient. Since the protein database was started at the end of 2003, there have been more than 25,000 searches for information.

The gift also will create the Shumaker Fellows, a scholarship program for graduate students and the Shumaker Lecture Series on Bioinformatics, a lecture series that will draw on experts from all over the world, encouraging them to share their research with their peers.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity to combine my professional interests with my personal passion for helping people live healthier, more productive lives," Shumaker said.

Shumaker, an MU electrical engineering alum, is one of the founders of Garmin International Inc., which manufactures navigation and communication equipment generated by a network of U.S. satellites. Garmin is part of the NASDAQ-100 Index, which includes 100 of the NASDAQ Stock Market's largest non-financial companies across major industry groups. Shumaker retired from Garmin in 2004. He and Dianne are involved in a number of philanthropic causes both internationally and in the Kansas City area.

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