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NIH Awards First Grants Under Genes, Environment and Health Initiative; Broad and Hopkins to Serve as Genotyping Centers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health today announced the recipients of the first awards under its Genes, Environment and Health Initiative, a collaborative program between geneticists and environmental scientists that it kicked off last February.
NIH has around $77 million in fiscal 2007 funding for project, including $28 million it had already set aside for the program this year, $40 million in new funding, and $9 million from two NIH institutes.
This year, NIH plans to fund eight genome-wide association studies, two genotyping centers, a coordinating center, and more than 30 environmental technology projects.
NIH said the researchers will use genome-wide association technologies to study common ailments, such as tooth decay, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The genetic component of the program aims to identify genetic differences between people with an illness and those who are healthy, with hopes of understanding the underlying genetic contribution to disease, NIH said.
The environmental aspect of the program will try to develop new technologies that measure personal exposures to compounds through the use of “wearable sensors.”
The two genotyping facility awards went to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Center for Inherited Disease Research at Johns Hopkins University. Stacey Gabriel is the principal investigator for the Broad award, worth $3.8 million, while David Valle is the PI on the $3.5 million Hopkins award.
Bruce Weir at the University of Washington, Seattle, was awarded $1.2 million to create the coordinating center for the GEI.
Initial environmental technology awards went to the following investigative teams:
·    $622,000 to Terri Beaty, Johns Hopkins University: International Consortium to Identify Genes and Interactions Controlling Oral Clefts
·    $561,000 to Laura Bierut, Washington University School of Medicine: Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment
·    $257,000 to Eric Boerwinkle, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: Genome-wide Association for Gene-environment Interaction Effects Influencing Coronary Heart Disease
·    $349,000 to Neil Caporaso, National Cancer Institute: A Genome-wide Association in a Population-based Lung Cancer Study
·    $622,000 to Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health: Genes and Environment Initiatives in Type 2 Diabetes
·    $572,000 to William Lowe, Northwestern University: Genome-wide Association Mapping: Maternal Metabolism-birth Weight Interactions 
·    $492,000 to Mary Marazita, University of Pittsburgh: Dental Caries (Tooth Decay); Whole Genome Association and Gene x Environment Studies
·    $488,000 to Jeffrey Murray, University of Iowa: Genome-wide Association Studies of Prematurity and Its Complications
·    $557,000 to Ian Blair, University of Pennsylvania: Exposure and Biological Response Biomarkers of Cigarette Smoke.
·    $485,000 to Sisir Dutta, Howard University: Early Disease Biomarkers of PCB-exposed Human Populations
·    $429,000 to Bevin Engelward, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Comet-chip High-throughput DNA Damage Sensor
·    $288,000 to Albert Fornace, Georgetown University: Genomic and Metabolomic Signatures of Alcohol-induced Liver Damage
·    $136,000 to Frank Gonzalez, National Cancer Institute: Genomic and Metabolomic Signatures of Alcohol-induced Liver Damage
·    $365,000 to Tim Huang, Ohio State University: Epigenetic Signatures of Xenoestrogens to Assess Breast Cancer Risk
·    $454,000 Bruce Kristal, Brigham and Women’s Hospital: Mitochondrial, Metabolite and Protein Biomarkers of Effects of Diet
·    $579,000 to Coral Lamartiniere, University of Alabama at Birmingham: Biomarkers of Biological Response to Endocrine Disruptors
·    $446,000 to David Lawrence, Wadsworth Center: Biomarker Signatures of Biological, Chemical and Psychological Stress
·    $643,000 to Avrum Spira, Boston University: A Non-invasive Gene Expression Biomarker of Airway Response to Tobacco Smoke
·    $502,000 to Charles Thompson, University of Montana, Missoula: Protein Biomarkers of Organophosphate Pesticides

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