NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute plans to use as much as $29.9 million over the next five years to fund new resources of omics data, tissue samples, and a research center that will support efforts to understand the molecular basis of lung development in humans and mice.
The overall aim of the Molecular Atlas of Lung Development Program (LungMAP) is to construct an open-access reference resource that will integrate gene and protein expression profiles, transcriptome, epigenome, and other molecular characterizations with high-resolution imaging of the lung in the late stages of development.
The institute wants LungMAP to be a "dynamic and publicly accessible" resource that provides molecular characterization data, and which will develop new tools, reagents, and technologies for molecular profiling of the human lung from about 22 to 24 weeks of gestation and into early childhood.
Funded under three new RFAs, LungMAP will support up to four research centers, one human tissue core resource, and one data coordinating center.
The research centers will be funded with up to $15.8 million. They will focus their efforts on generating molecular anatomy data of the developing lung of humans and mice.
The human tissue core facility will be funded with up to $6.8 million. This resource will collect and catalog human lung samples, will manage additional tissue source sites for sample collection, and will process and prepare tissues and distribute them for use by the lung research community.
The data coordinating center will be funded with around $7.3 million. This will be a centralized data repository, a public interface for the research community, and it will serve as the consortium's coordinating center. It will house a curated, expandable database that includes a range of data types, and it will develop annotations in collaboration with teams at the research centers and create online analysis tools for use by the general research community.
At the research centers, investigators may seek to pursue a range of projects, such as large-scale, high-throughput gene expression studies with RNA in situ hybridization; protein expression studies; high-resolution analyses of a selective set of key genes; cell-type specific transcriptome analysis by next-generation RNAseq with purified cells; efforts to identify novel genes and regulatory pathways that control lung development; and the use of imaging, bioinformatics, and computational modeling methods to relate gene expression data to anatomical and functional characteristics.