João Setubal, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has been awarded the 2009 Business Software Alliance (BSA) Distinguished Innovators' Award.

The annual award recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have successfully developed and implemented information technology in ways that advance a nation’s economic, technological or social well-being. The BSA Distinguished Innovators Award was presented to Setubal on March 27, 2009, in recognition of his efforts to advance bioinformatics in Brazil, in particular his contribution to the Xylella fastidiosa genome project.

Leaders in the Brazilian information technology community were asked to choose the innovators whose solutions have already improved, or have the potential to improve, the lives of Brazilians.

Michael P. Ryan, director of the Creative and Innovative Economy Center at the George Washington University Law School and one of the organizers of the research used to support the awards, commented: “We recommended several projects to the Business Software Alliance that we believed had fundamentally changed or created a marketplace in Brazil. Dr. Setubal’s contribution to bioinformatics in Brazil was a strong fit and he was ultimately selected by the Business Software Alliance as one of the five awardees.”

The Setubal research group works primarily on bioinformatics for bacterial genome annotation and sequence analysis. New bacterial genome sequence information continues to become available at an exponential rate thanks to new sequencing technologies. The availability of this sequence information allows scientists to compare the genome sequences from many different organisms and look in detail at their evolutionary origins. Current topics of interest also include the development and use of automated bioinformatic tools and resources to investigate bacterial genomics.

Setubal received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1992 from the University of Washington. Before joining the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, he served as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Campinas’ Institute of Computing in Brazil from 1992 to 2004 and was a visiting research scholar in the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington from 2000 to 2001.

Business Software Alliance is a nonprofit trade association created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners. It is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. Headquartered in Washington D.C., BSA is active in more than 80 countries worldwide.

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