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ISB, Scripps, Rock U Win $24M Immunology Grant

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 - The Institute for Systems Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, and Rockefeller University have jointly won a $24 million federal grant to study innate immunity.


The five-year grant was awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December last year and announced Jan. 8.


Research partners will work to develop an "encyclopedia" of innate immunity, exploring gene-expression changes and protein dynamics that emerge during the body's efforts to ward off infection. The grant will be used to apply a comprehensive systems-biology approach to understanding signal transduction- and receptor/ligand-interactions in this system, integrating gene-sequence data, expression information, protein characterizations, and protein-interaction data in order to create a global picture of the innate immune response.


Innate immunity is the body's first-line response to microbial infection. Unlike the highly specialized adaptive wing of the immune response, elements of the innate immune system respond to a wide range of pathogens.


Scripps immunology chair Richard Ulevitch is the principal investigator, and ISB director Alan Aderem will lead the project at ISB. Rockefeller researchers involved in the project include immunologists Jeffrey Ravetch and Ralph Steinman.


The Institute for Systems Biology will receive about half of the grant and, together with TSRI, will set up shared core facilities and a public database.


ISB plans to hire three bioinformaticists and two biologists for the project, said a spokesperson for the institute. The institute will also invest in new hardware and software resources and may purchase new mass-spectrometry equipment.


This is ISB's second major grant in recent months: In October 2002, the institute won a $19.8 million contract to become one of 10 proteomics centers for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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