New Haven, Conn. -- The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced a grant of $18 million over five years to continue support for the Center of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) at Yale University
The CEGS program was started in 2001 to pull together interdisciplinary teams of scientists with the goal of making critical advances in genomic research. One of these original five-year awards was to Yale. Today's awards also continue a center at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and establish a new center at the California Institute of Technology.
"The CEGS program is vital to our efforts to apply innovative genomic tools and technologies to the study of human biology," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "By fostering collaboration among researchers from many different disciplines, NHGRI aims to encourage innovation and build a powerful new framework for exploring human health and disease."
At Yale's Center of Excellence in Genomic Sciences, a team led by Michael Snyder, the Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology, will expand upon its efforts to develop new technologies for identifying functional elements, or the areas of the genome essential to biological function.
In the previous funding period, the Yale CEGS created new genomic tiling array technologies to identify actively transcribed sequences, transcription-factor binding sites, DNA replication timing and DNA sequence variation on a large scale. They were able to represent all of the sequences of the human genome on microscope slides--a landmark achievement – and identify thousands of new transcribed regions in the human genome.
"The Yale CEGS has had a remarkable influence on genomics, both nationally and at Yale where many different research groups now perform state-of-the-art experiments using the CEGS techniques and facilities," said Andrew Hamilton, Provost of Yale University. "The CEGS has expanded new training initiatives for undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, with particular focus on under-represented groups."
In the continuing program, the Yale researchers will refine these innovative technologies and explore new methods and approaches, including protein microarrays. Their goal is to analyze the regulatory steps involved in inflammation, a part of the body's normal response to injury or infection. They will then examine where the normal process of inflammation runs amok and contributes to heart disease, arthritis, asthma, allergies, chronic skin disorders and many other serious medical conditions.
"This CEGS grant has allowed us to develop new technologies to explore the mysteries of the human genome. We hope that in the expanded project we can continue to develop new ways to identify genes and the way they are regulated," said Snyder, "By applying these technologies to the study of inflammation, we hope to understand how our body is protected from pathogens and disease."
Key members of the Yale CEGS team are Mark Gerstein, the Albert L Williams Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Computer Science; Sherman Weissman, M.D., Sterling Professor of Genetics, and Director of Molecular Oncology & Development, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine; and Perry Miller, M.D., Director of the Center for Medical Informatics, and Professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology, and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology.
In addition to the centers at Yale, the University of Washington and Caltech, other current participants in the CEGS program are the Molecular Sciences Institute, Berkeley, CA; Harvard Medical School, Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Columbia University.
Besides carrying out their research missions, CEGS programs also serve as a focal point for providing education and training about genomic research opportunities to members of under-represented minorities among college undergraduates through post-doctoral fellows. More information is available at http://www.genome.gov/14514219.
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the NIH -- "The Nation's Medical Research Agency" -- which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI Division of Extramural Research supports grants for research and training and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at www.genome.gov. Details about the research being conducted by the CEGS are available online at http://www.genome.gov/10001771.
Michael Snyder http://www.biology.yale.edu/facultystaff/snyder.html
Molecular cellular & Developmental Biology http://www.biology.yale.edu/
Mark Gerstein http://www.mbb.yale.edu/fl/fl_m_gerstein.htm
Biomedical Informatics http://ycmi.med.yale.edu/
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemeisty http://www.mbb.yale.edu/
Computer Science http://www.cs.yale.edu/
Sherman Weisman http://info.med.yale.edu/genetics/fac/ShermanWeissman.php
Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine http://www.med.yale.edu/bcmm/
Perry Miller http://info.med.yale.edu/bbs/faculty/mil_pe.html
Center for Medical Informatics http://ycmi.med.yale.edu/
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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