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NIDA Grants to Fund Systems Bio, HIV Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute on Drug Abuse intends to fund research that will use systems biology and genomic and proteomic data to understand the complex relationship between HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.

NIDA plans to spend up to $4.5 million on between five and eight projects.

Because HIV/AIDS and substance abuse are more complex to treat and prevent when they occur at the same time, systems biology approaches that could "re-define HIV virus-host interactions in the context of substance abuse" could provide new personalized therapeutic methods, NIDA said in a funding announcement.

These studies, which may receive up to $750,000 per year over five years, may employ a range of approaches. Researchers may propose identifying new gene variants involved in HIV-host interactions at different stages of disease, or they may aim to find novel gene targets, protein complexes, or signaling pathways that impact HIV infection, integration, transcription, or evolution.

The studies could seek to identify host or viral genome features that impact selection of integration sites, HIV gene expression, HIV replication, or viral latency or reactivation. Scientists also could use the grants to discover biomarkers that may predict patient response to antiretroviral treatment, or they may study molecular networks or signatures that impact HIV/AIDS phenotypes, such as non-progression or rapid progression.

"Newly-formed interdisciplinary collaborations to foster sharing of expertise among the fields of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, and systems biology research are encouraged," the request for applications states. "Integration of systems biology studies with ongoing genetic or clinical studies is encouraged. Examples of data types of interest include proteomic, protein interaction, metabolomic, pharmacological, behavioral, electrophysiological, imaging, neural connectivity, clinical, anatomical, gene variant, RNA interference, epigenomic, and gene expression data," according to NIDA.

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