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NIGMS Challenge Grants Fund Omics, Molecular Bio

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roughly half of $16.4 million in Challenge Grants stimulus funding that The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded went to fund molecular biology projects using genomics, genetics, RNA research, synthetic biology, epigenetics, and similar focus areas, NIGMS said this week.

The two-year Challenge Grants are aimed at "overcoming specific scientific and technological challenges in areas of interest," NIGMS said. These areas of interest include synthetic biology, drug discovery, molecular imaging, green chemistry, stem cells, and others.

"The basic research supported by NIGMS lays a foundation for disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention," NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg said in a statement.

Berg said that these studies will "enable us to capitalize on scientific opportunities in a range of our mission areas by speeding progress toward new tools, methods and knowledge."

These grants include:
• $980,000 to David Clayton at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study the neurogenomics of social behavior;

• $990,000 to Karsten Weis at the University of California, Berkeley for research into post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes;

• $1 million to Christina Smolke at Stanford University for research into molecular platforms for the development of intelligent therapeutics targeted to diseased cells;

• $910,000 to Mitchell Smith of the University of Virginia for nanoscale studies of the morphology of epigenomics histone modifications;

• $840,000 to Virginia Cornish of Columbia University to develop bright fluorescent chemical tags for use in imaging single molecules and for studying complex molecular interactions;

• $770,000 to Quingha Liu at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for biochemical studies of drosophila RNA-induced silencing complex;

• $940,000 to Patrick Hennelly and Kevin Sanbonmatsu at Los Alamos National Laboratory for studies of the interplay between switching, ligand binding, and folding in riboswitches.

• $900,000 to Donald Truhlar and Jiali Gao at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to study biomolecular simulations.

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