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NIH to Fund HIV Systems Bio Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute on Drug Abuse intends to fund research that uses systems biology and multi-disciplinary approaches to study connections between substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

NIDA plans to commit $3 million in 2012 to support grants of up to $650,000 per year to researchers using systems biology to address important questions about HIV/AIDS and the potential impact of drug use and abuse.

Many existing HIV cohorts, networks, and repositories include individuals with histories of substance abuse, but the impact of substance abuse use history on host and viral factors involved in susceptibility to infection and pathogenesis has not been well studied. To advance such knowledge, researchers may use these grants to explore a range of data types, including genomic, proteomic, protein interaction, epigenomic, metabolomic, and gene expression data, according to NIDA's request for applications.

These studies must focus on significant scientific questions, they must use a systems biology approach, they must have one specific aim focused on substance abuse, and they will most likely be effective if they use a multidisciplinary team with expertise on HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and systems biology.

Investigators may use the funding for a wide range of studies, such as identification of targets or small molecule modulators with the potential to eliminate HIV reservoirs or lead to a cure for HIV infection; identification of molecular networks or signatures that impact HIV/AIDS phenotypes; research into the biology of HIV infection and evolution associated with injection or non-injection substance abuse; and identification of targets or medical interventions for drug abuse and co-morbid clinical conditions associated with HIV/AIDS.