NEW YORK, July 23 - The Department of Energy announced on Tuesday the winners of five major research awards from its Genomes to Life program.
Awards totalling $103 million over five years will fund research on gene networks and biological systems at six national laboratories, 16 universities and research hospitals, and four private research institutes.
Genomes to Life is focused on understanding the interaction between living organisms and their environment. DOE's Office of Science had requested proposals for large multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary projects involving both the biological and computational sciences. Labs leading the winning research projects are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Harvard University.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $23.4 million over three years to lead a team that will develop technologies to identify and characterize the complete set of multiprotein complexes and the molecular machines of life within a microbial cell. Oak Ridge's research partners on the project are the Pacific Northwest, Argonne, and Sandia National Laboratories, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Utah.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will get $36.6 million over five years to develop computational models to describe and predict behavior of gene regulatory networks in microbes in response to environmental conditions found in waste sites contaminated with metals and radionuclides. The lab's research partners for the project are Sandia, Oak Ridge, University of California at Berkeley, University of Missouri, Columbia University, University of Washington, and Diversa of San Diego.
Sandia National Laboratory was awarded $19.1 million over three years to develop and apply experimental and computational methods to understand proteins, protein-protein interactions, and the gene regulatory networks that control the production of these proteins in a marine microbe that plays a role in the earth's carbon cycle. Partners in the project are: Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, NCGR, University of California at San Diego, University of Tennessee, University of Michigan, The Molecular Sciences Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Illinois, Champaign.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, was awarded $8.9 million for a three-year cooperative agreement that aims to develop computational models for predicting the activity of microbes that have a potential for uranium bioremediation and for production of electricity through their ability to transfer electrons to electrodes. Its partners are TIGR, Argonne, and the University of Tennessee, Memphis.
DOE also made a cooperative agreement with Harvard Medical School for $15 million over five years. The Harvard team will study proteins and protein-protein interactions, the gene regulatory networks that control the production of these proteins, and the behavior of two microbes. It will also develop computational methods to understand the biology of these microbes at a system level. Partners are MIT, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.