NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A new grant program will give eight to ten investigators a total of $6 million next year to form a consortium that will develop genomics projects aimed at understanding craniofacial disorders, the National Institutes of Health said in a request for applications.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will grant the funds to create the FaceBase Consortium, which will consist of a database of information from studies about the genetic and environmental problems that can lead to craniofacial disorders.
These funds will support creation of a data coordination and management hub, research projects that will focus on mid-face development, orofacial clefting, and technology development projects. The effort will support experimental data collection, annotation, data coordination and integration, systems level analyses, and clinical application. The aim is to improve risk assessment, prevention, screening and treatment strategies, and functional restoration in oral, dental, and craniofacial disorders.
Over half of all birth defects are associated with some form of craniofacial malformation, NIH said, and orofacial clefts occur in roughly one in 700 live births, and affect over 6,800 infants in the US every year.
NIH said that understanding sequence variation and gene expression profiles, as well as the regulatory networks that govern craniofacial morphogenesis, will help physicians “face the future with predictive, preemptive, personalized medicine.”
More information about the FaceBase Consortium and the functional genomics of craniofacial research grants is available here.